This almost British bread , as the name implies, is split in the middle. There is something homely about a loaf shaped like this, which conjures images of cottages, barns and churned butter. Sugar is absent in here, which results in a slow fermentation process giving it a signature yeasty aroma.
Traditionally, this loaf uses the sponge method, which uses a portion of the flour and yeast to form a culture overnight before combining with the rest of the flour to make the final product. Lots of excellent information can get obtained online on this method. Hopefully the next time when the urge for bread is not so great, I will try the sponge method for another split tin. For now, this pseudo sponge method will have to do.
Just one more thing. The knock down or rolling up of the dough after the first fermentation is crucial. This helps to keep the crust from detaching itself from the rest of the loaf and redistributes the air pockets and contact surface of yeast and flour. It may seem like repetition but is a necessary step.
Makes about a big loaf.
500 g bread flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
11g instant yeast
120 ml + 150 ml lukewarm water
120ml lukewarm milk
In a mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt.
Make a hollow in the well of the flour mix and set aside.
Add all of the yeast to 120 ml of water. Stir to dissolve yeast.
Pour the wet yeast mixture into the flour well.
With the thick ends of 2 chopsticks, stir in some of the flour, starting from center of the bowl. Do not mix in all the flour yet.
Cover the mixing bowl and leave for 20 minutes. The center, which is wet with the yeast will foam a little.
Add the remaining 150ml of water and 120ml of milk to the yeast foam. Stir in the surrounding flour until you get a shaggy dough.
At this stage, resist the urge to add some more flour.
With a bread machine, transfer the wet dough to a bread machine and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is pulled from the sides of the retainer.
Should you do the kneading manually, knead for at least 10 minutes on a lightly floured work top, until the dough is no longer sticky but smooth and elastic.
Ferment the dough for at least an hour ( estimated 1 1/4 hour ), in the bread machine retainer or an oiled deep bowl, covered. Dough is ready to work on when it is doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, prepare a floured baking tin, about 10x5x4 inch .
Transfer to a lightly floured worktop. The dough will be loose and limp. Use a pastry scrapper to manage the dough if the wetness bothers you. Work with floured hands.
Punch in and shape the dough. Lightly press the dough into a rectangle , the length of your baking tin.
Roll up the dough and tuck the ends to the seam side of the loaf. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
Transfer the rolled dough to the prepared tin. Lightly dust the top with flour.
Proof the dough in a drought free box for another 20 minutes.
Use a sharp razor and make a deep cut length-wise at the centre of the dough.
Ferment for another 30 minutes or until it has doubled in bulk. Lightly dust with flour.
Preheat the oven to 230C. Bake at 230C for 14 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200C. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Bread is ready when it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Cool thoroughly before serving or storing.
Verdict : the bread is very light and neutral in taste, with a rather open texture. Keeps well.