There are many people that rarely or never bake with yeast because they think it's just too messy and/or time consuming - I know, I used to be one of them. That all changed when I purchased my fully automatic bread machine. All of a sudden, a whole new world of baking awaited me!
Sure the machine bakes a good loaf of bread all by itself, and many a loaf I did bake in my initial craze. But, I then soon realised the greatest benefit of this machine was that it could mix, knead and leaven the dough for a whole range of other recipes, that I could bake in my own oven.
The recipe instructions below assume you have a bread machine to mix, knead and leaven the dough. However, you can equally perform these functions by hand, and by preheating your oven to 150 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes, to create a warm environment in which to leaven your dough.
Plaited Milk Loaf
550gr White Flour
1 Packet Vanilla Sugar
45gr Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Dried Sultanas (optional)
- In a bowl using a balloon whisk mix the milk, 2 eggs, vanilla sugar, sugar, melted butter and salt by hand until all ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the bread machine's bread pan.
- Place the flour on top of the milk mixture and then sprinkle the yeast evenly over the top.
- Set the bread machine to mix/knead the dough - I usually let it do its thing for about 10 minutes.
- Set the first rising period to about 1.5 hours. When this time is up the dough will have visually at least doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down for a minute or so, then allow to rise for another hour.
- After the second rising, remove the dough from the machine and knead on a flat surface until its' stickiness subsides.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius with the middle oven rack in place.
- If including sultanas, flatten the dough out with your hands and sprinkle the sultanas over the top and knead into the dough.
- Divide the dough into three equal portions, shaping each into a sausage shape of equal length (40-50cm).
- Grab the ends of the three pieces and securely press together, then plait the dough, ensuring to join the other end securely as well.
- Lift the plait onto a baking paper lined tray, whisk the remaining egg and brush all over the top of the loaf. At this stage I like to sprinkle a thick coating of sugar over the top, but it's not a requirement.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden.