Old-Fashioned London Loaf

 

I first saw this loaf of bread on Pinterest (I’m addicted to it now) and immediately included on my “recipes to try” list. From there I discovered the Lemon Drop blog, which you should take a look … it’s filled with delicious recipes and loads of gluten-free ideas.

This loaf looked so good and it’s quite foolproof. In fact, I have to say, this was my first successful loaf of bread. I’ve tried baking bread twice before, but I guess I wasn’t patient enough to let it raise properly, which is a crucial step when making bread. Considering it’s normally cold here, making bread usually takes longer than what the recipes anticipate. But no problem with this loaf, since the idea is to raise quite SLOWLY… and we’re talking about at least 8 hours. Prepare the dough and go to bed. That’s what I did!

I started this bread on a Sunday around 2am. That’s right, 2AM! And I’m not crazy. It’s just that my hub said he wanted to watch UFC, which is always late, so I thought “I’m gonna make that bread and stay awake”. It only took me 10 minutes to put it together as it barely requires any work… I mixed the ingredients, kneaded by hand for 7 minutes and that was it. You can also use a stand mixer if you prefer, as in the recipe. When I woke up (after 9 hours)… wow… it had risen quite a lot. Then all is left for you to do is to shape it and bake it!

There is such a pleasure in making bread that I can’t even explain. Try it for yourself and tell me about the smell in your house when baking it! Irresistible ­čÖé

Old-Fashioned London Loaf

Adapted from here and original recipe in the Great British Bake Off – How to Bake cookbook

Ingredients

  • 500g white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10g unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fast-action yeast
  • 300 ml water at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preparation

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, stir together flour and salt. With your fingertips, rub in butter until it pretty much disappears. Stir  in dried yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in water.
  2. On low speed, slowly knead in all ingredients until it starts to come together then increase speed to high and let the mixer knead the dough for 4 minutes (or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10min). Cover the bowl with cling film and place in a cool location for a minimum of 8 hrs and a maximum of 12 hrs.
  3. Grease a 2lb loaf tin (mine is 30cm long). Punch down dough. On a floured surface, knead gently for one minute then shape it into a loaf, approximately the lenght of your tin, and transfer it to the tin. Cover with clean tea towel and let rest for 2-3 hrs. Brush milk over the top of risen loaf and sprinkle some flour.
  4. Preheat oven to 210C. Place a roasting pan on bottom shelf of oven and when oven has reached temperature, place bread onto oven rack. Pour 1 cup of water into roasting pan then quickly shut the door. This causes a burst of steam which will help achieve a crunchy crust.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until you hear a hollow sound when tapping the bottom of the loaf.
  6. Remove bread from bread pan and return the loaf back to the oven, directly on the oven rack for 5 minutes. Remove bread and let cool on cooling rack before slicing.