Milk Loaf recipe

PUBLISHED: 18:55 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 18:55 12 November 2015

Merlin's Milk Loaf

Merlin's Milk Loaf

not Archant

By Julie and David Peeks of Artisan Foodworks

Merlin’s Milk Loaf

Based on a traditional Japanese bread recipe we have developed this new soft, delicately sweet and slightly enriched loaf. We have slightly adapted our usual slow fermentation process by using a pre-dough mix. The addition of milk, sugar and eggs moves this loaf towards a brioche type loaf without the 36 hour proving and chilling times you find with a traditional brioche recipe.

The dough is quite sweet and care has to be taken when baking to ensure the loaf does not burn. We bake at a much lower temperature than with standard loaves. To accommodate this we have a slightly longer proving time to ensure the loaf reaches its maximum rise before it goes into the oven. Another cautionary note, the loaf makes excellent toast but, again, be careful as it can quickly burn.


Pre dough

150g water

30g strong white flour


350g strong flour

125g milk

120g pre dough (from above)

55g sugar

45g egg (1 med)

30g butter

15g fresh yeast


Take a little of the water and mix into the flour to create a paste. Warm the remainder of the water to 70⁰C in a saucepan. Add the flour and water paste whisking continuously, until the pre dough is formed and is thick enough to leave a trail across the surface when you move your whisk through the smooth mix. Put into a small bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool.

Mix all the other ingredients along with 120g of cooled pre dough in a bowl and turn out onto the bench. Keep the remainder of the pre dough, you will need it later. Knead the dough until it is smooth and silky and a “window pane” effect is achieved when you lift a section of dough up and gently shake it to reach maximum stretch. This dough takes a lot of kneading – it will take half an hour if kneading by hand. So if you weren’t planning an upper body workout into your baking session, use your electric mixer with the dough hook, and mix on low speed for 2 minutes, then turn to high for about 10 minutes until the dough is formed. Note it is quite a soft dough so do not be tempted to add more flour.

Cover and leave to prove for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from bowl and degas the dough by stretching out and forcing any excess air out.

Stretch the dough to half of the width of your bread tin and about the length of an A5 piece of paper. Keeping the dough lengthways from you (i.e. the narrowest side closes to you) roll the dough tightly to create a sausage shape.

Turn in both ends of the dough and place into a well-greased and floured 2lb bread tin.

Leave to prove for one hour or until the dough forms a crown above the top of your tin.

Using a pastry brush carefully paint the remaining pre-dough onto the top of the loaf, being careful not to tear the top with your brush. There is no need to slash the top of the loaf if it is well proven.

Bake at 180C for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Best eaten fresh as a sandwich bread or as toast with homemade strawberry jam.

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