As much as we love our sourdough and artisan bread recipes, one can’t forgo an old-school loaf, which makes the perfect candidate for french toast and sandwiches. When the burger bun is not in reach, you might also find that your soft and fluffy homemade sliced white makes a good substitute for that, too.
This recipe is featured in Nigella Lawson’s new BBC show which focuses on her favourite recipes for home-cooking. Nigella’s Eat, Cook, Repeat, premieres in Singapore on Monday, 16th August at 7.00pm, on StarHub channel 432 and BBC Player.
- 500 g strong white bread flour plus more for dusting
- 2½ tsps (7 g) sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 2 tsps (8 g) caster sugar
- 2 tsps (12 g) fine sea salt
- 125 ml spoilt milk (or sour cream) straight from the fridge
- 150 ml cold water
- 100 ml hot water from a just-boiled kettle
- 3 x 15 ml tbsps (45 g) soft unsalted butter (omit if using sour cream, plus more for greasing tin)
- Vegetable oil for kneading
Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Pour the spoilt milk (or sour cream) into a measuring jug, add the cold water (which will take you to the 275 ml/1½ cups mark) then the boiling water. Stir the soft butter into the jug; it won’t melt entirely, but that’s fine.
Pour the jug of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you go, either with a wooden spoon, a Danish dough whisk or – and these are my tools of choice here – hands. Stir until all the flour – apart from a little that’s clinging to the sides of the bowl – is absorbed into the dough. Form into a rough ball, cover the bowl with food wrap or a shower cap, and leave for 10 mins.
Pour a little oil onto the kitchen counter and spread it with your hand to give a light sheen to an area big enough to knead on. Take the dough out of its bowl and duly knead it for 10 secs. How you knead is very personal: we all have our different styles; I push the dough away with the heel of my hand and bring it back with my fingers. Form the dough back into a ball, return it to its bowl, cover it again, and leave for 10 mins. Repeat this process twice, and after the third 10-sec knead, form the dough into a ball again, put it back in the bowl, cover, and leave for 1 hr.
Line the bottom of a 900 g loaf tin and very lightly grease the sides; I use an old butter wrapper for this. Take the plumptiously risen dough out of its bowl, and pat it out on your oiled surface so that you have a soft, puffy mattress about 2 cm thick, with one edge about 4 cm shorter than the length of your tin. Starting with this edge, and using both hands, tightly roll the dough into a scroll – or Swiss roll, if that helps you visualise it better – and tenderly place it seam side down in your prepared tin; you may have to press the short sides gently to fit it in, as the scroll can get longer as you roll. Leave to rise for 1-1½ hrs, until it’s peeking out just above the top of the tin. Turn the oven on when it looks like it’s nearly there.
So, heat the oven to 200 (180 C fan-forced). Dust the top of the dough with flour and bake for 45 mins, by which time the bread will be risen, with a rounded and deep biscuity-gold top. Unless your oven is misfiring, it will definitely be done. Armed with oven gloves, quickly take the bread out of the tin, and place it on a wire rack to cool before slicing into it. To keep the loaf fresh for as long as possible, store in a bread bin. The next best method is to wrap it in a tea towel.
Text: Nigella Lawson