Well, that is what Bread Baking Babe Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms chose us to bake this month.
The dough itself is an enriched brioche-like dough. Not too complicated, although very wet and therefore not the easiest to "knead". The finished loaf is slightly sweet, has a gorgeous yellow, fluffy, soft crumb and is delicious with either sweet or savoury toppings.
I am very grateful (again!) to Lien for doing the metric conversion of the original recipe.
Since I had visitors in my kitchen at THE moment of the actual water-proofing I didn't make any pictures .... I wanted to but felt a bit embarrassed .... The whole process went exactly according to plan, that is, according to Elle's recipe: wrap the dough loosely in a heavily floured tea towel and tie it with an elastic band (like a balloon). Lower the packed dough into a large bowl of warm water (42C). It will sink. Once it floats to the top of the bowl the dough is ready! This only took 35 mins. Releasing the dough from the tea towel is a bit messy ... Especially since my dough was still very "wet"!
I chose to bake one big loaf and used my large antique loaf tin, which once belonged to my mum-in-law's granddad who was a baker. I have to ask her more about the history of that tin! It works wonders, it's completely black and nothing will stick to it!
My version of the recipe (adapted from Beard on Bread, 1973), makes 1 large loaf (33 x 14 x 10 cm tin)
10 gr dry instant yeast
510 gr strong white bread flour
50 gr sugar
8 gr salt
118 gr warm water (at 39C)
118 gr warm milk (at 39C)
115 gr melted butter
3 beaten eggs
Mix all dry ingredients and all wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Then combine the two and start kneading. Since the dough is very wet I started stretching and folding in the bowl. After a few minutes 'poor' the dough onto your worktop and continue to knead. After 10 minutes the dough will have become a little less sticky, just a little ...
Prepare for water-proofing as described above.
Once the dough floats at the top of the bowl (after approx. 35 mins.), scrape it from the tea towel* onto your floured worktop. Knead it quickly and shape the dough to fit a well greased loaf tin. I also used a strip of baking paper for easy release after baking. Place the tin in a large plastic bag, close it and let rise for 60-70 mins. The dough will at least have doubled in size.
Bake the loaf in a pre-heated oven at 165C (fan) for 40 mins. Remove the loaf from the tin and continue to bake for 20 more mins. at 160C (fan). Leave to cool completely on a wired rack.
*Tip from Elle: to clean the tea towel rinse it thoroughly in cold water before washing.