The inspiration for this bake came from two sources. I made a similar loaf a couple of weeks ago and gave some to my dad, who praised it's bendy, soft texture and stated that it would make the perfect base for a traditional chip butty. Ruby Tandoh also wrote an article for 'The Guardian' recently, defending the sliced white loaf. The nostalgic side of me felt instantly hungry at her description of the molten gold pools of butter that form on crunchy slices of white toast. I have added extra fat, in the form of milk, to this loaf, to make it much softer and toast up even better. As Nigel Slater once said 'The perfect piece of toast can only ever be white' (Eating for England, 2007), and this soft, pillowy loaf is exactly right for that perfect English staple. Make sure you cut this bake into thick slices and slather with butter for the ultimate carb-y treat.
Makes 1 medium loaf.
For the loaf:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast, or 14g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
350ml semi-skimmed milk
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or it it feels soft but not sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Grease a 1lb loaf tin with rapeseed oil (or you could use a loaf tin liner instead).
When the dough has risen, shape it into a rectangle (the same size as your tin), and place it into the loaf tin.
Cover the loaf with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has puffed up and is just coming over the rim of the tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the bread has risen, bake it for around 30 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown.
Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for around 5 minutes before removing and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
This loaf will keep fresh for a few days, wrapped well and stored in a cool, dark place (a bread bin or a cupboard will do, not the fridge!).