I’ve been on a mission to use up gallons of raw milk. Boyfriend is part of a herdshare program and that comes with two gallons of milk every week. Just because we went on a road trip to South Carolina for a few days, that did not mean the cows took a break from milking. We had so much extra milk in the fridge that I was using milk in many of my cooking.
Aside from rice pudding and double batch of butter rum pudding, I also made a rustic loaf of bread loosely adapted from Dan Lepard’s Delicate Milk Loaf. I absolutely love his technique of starting with a sponge followed by brief 10 seconds kneading with 10 minutes rest in between for half an hour. The dough is entirely made by hand. The only equipment I really need is an accurate kitchen scale, something I do not expect to find in a bachelor’s abode. Apparently there is much I have yet to learn about my Boyfriend.
On the second day of my arrival, I dragged us to the neighbourhood IKEA in search of a dish rack and cutting board. While we were browsing through the kitchen gadget knick knacks, I pointed to a digital kitchen scale and said I was close to getting one for his kitchen. Much to my surprise, Boyfriend said he has one. How?! Why?!
Well, a digital kitchen scale is good for weighing many things including the wheels and bearings that we skate on. To his discerning mind, it makes a difference if a wheel is manufactured slightly heavier than another. So of course he has a scale. He even meticulously weighed my batch of chocolate chip cookies one by one to eat in order of biggest to smallest.
Now, back to the bread. With the accuracy of weight measurement, I was happy as a clam. I departed quite a bit from Lepard’s original recipe. I made mine with all milk instead of both milk and cream. Blooming active dry yeast replaced the convenience of rapid rise yeast. Since my yeast looked down right sluggish to the point of lifeless (seriously I almost gave up on them after 45 minutes of inactivity), I gave it a little boost with a tablespoon of brown sugar at the sponge stage instead of golden syrup later on. As for the flour, I used a mix of 230g unbleached all purpose and 120g whole wheat. I dusted the outside of the loaf with some cornmeal and it baked into the most beautiful loaf of bread with a welcoming split down the centre.
The crust is almost flaky from the milk fat.The bread sliced like a dream with a delicate crumb. We could not get enough of this bread simply enjoyed with homemade Nutella and Bing cherry jam. It is the kind of wholesome breakfast bread that I like to enjoy with my morning tea.
It has taken me a while but I’m finally used to the rhythm of making bread at home. Waiting for the dough to ferment is much more forgiving than I previously thought and I start to enjoy attending the dough in between my weekend chores. Although there are still bread that I would spend money to buy at bakeries without hesitation, I am just as happy to make the simpler ones with my own two hands. All thanks to master baker Dan Lepard!
(originally published at Dessert By Candy)
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