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Does milk and honey take you back to your childhood? It’s not just an old wives’ tale - this calming combo is said to soothe the mind and body.
And there’s something relaxing about kneading fresh dough, too!
We’ve used manuka honey in this fluffy loaf for its lower sugar content and all-round benefits.
You’ll need about 3.5 hours in total to make this, so save it for a cosy afternoon in.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and honey until just below a simmer and mix well to dissolve the honey. Transfer into a jug and allow to cool enough that you can hold your finger in the mixture; any hotter and you will kill the yeast.
Once the mixture is just warm, add in the yeast, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Once the yeast has started to bubble a little, sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
Gradually add in the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (5 minutes in a machine fitted with a dough hook). The dough should become smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough into a clean bowl and cover with cling film. Allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 220 ºC /200ºC fan/gas mark 7. Knock the air out of the dough and transfer back onto a lightly floured surface. Grease a 2lb loaf tin very lightly with oil and set aside.
To shape the dough, use one hand to pull the left side of the dough into the middle, then pull the right side in, followed by the top and then pull the bottom up and roll the dough over so you have a smooth oblong.
If the top of the dough isn’t completely smooth, cup your hands down the sides and under the dough to form some surface tension.
Once you are ready, transfer the dough into the prepared tin and cover with some cling film. Allow to prove for 30-45 minutes or until risen and pillowy.
Once the dough is ready, make the glaze: heat the milk, honey and salt gently in a saucepan until dissolved and brush gently on the top of the loaf, then place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes before reducing the heat to 190 ºC /170 ºC fan/gas mark 5; cook for a further 25-30 minutes.
The bread will go slightly darker than a usual bread because of the honey so don’t bring it out too early. The rich colour adds lots of flavour.
Once the bread is cooked, remove from the oven and remove the tin. Tap the bottom of the loaf and it should sound hollow. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely.