Farmhouse White Bread with Cardamon

Makes: 4 9in x 5in loaves

This country white bread from the heartland is perfect for beginner baker, and it makes 4 big loaves.

Ingredients

  • 32floz/1 litre boiling water 
  • 7oz/215g instant non-fat dried milk 
  • 4tbsp/60ml unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1tbsp salt 
  • 8oz/250g sugar 
  • 2tbsp active dry yeast 
  • pinch sugar 
  • 4floz/125ml warm water 
  • 10 dried cardamom pods 
  • 48oz/3kg unbleached all-purpose or bread flour 
  • rich egg glaze

Method

1. In a very large bowl, combine the boiling water, dried milk, butter, salt and sugar with a whisk. Stir and let stand at room temperature until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, sprinkle. the yeast and pinch of sugar over the warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and crush with a rolling pin on a piece of waxed paper. Set aside.

3. Add 16oz/500g of the flour, cardamom seeds, and yeast mixture to the milk and butter mixture. Beat hard with a whisk for 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the remaining flour 2oz/60g at a time to form a soft, shaggy dough that clears the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn Out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and resilient to the touch but not dry, 5 to 8 minutes, adding the flour 1tbsp at a time as necessary to prevent sticking. Place the dough in a greased deep container, turn once to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours.

5. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape into rectangular loaves and place in four greased 9in x 5in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again at room temperature until 1in above the rim of the pans, about 40 minutes. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

6. With a serrated knife, score the tops decoratively and brush with egg glaze. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven until browned and hollow sounding when tapped, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the pans immediately to cool on racks.