Enriched white bread

Enriched white bread

Leiths How to Cook
2 x 500 g loaves
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
300-350ml milk
30g butter
20g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
500g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs


  1. Put the milk in a small saucepan and bring to scalding point over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, transfer 2 tablespoons to a small bowl and set aside to cool to blood temperature, about 38ºC. Cut the butter into small dice and add to the remaining milk in the pan. Leave to melt and cool to blood temperature.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the cooled milk in the bowl and stir until dissolved.
  3. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Break an egg into a small bowl, beat lightly and add to the flour, along with the dissolved yeast and at least three-quarters of the milk and butter mixture (using some of it to swill out any remaining yeast in its bowl). Use a cutlery knife to distribute the liquid evenly and bring the ingredients together into a dough. Add more milk and butter if necessary to create a soft, slightly tacky dough.
  5. When the dough is beginning to form, use your hands to bring it together. Transfer to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 5–8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. Put the dough into a large, very lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Transfer the risen dough back to the work surface and knock it back, kneading it for 2–3 minutes.
  8. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 loaves. Place in 2 lightly oiled 500 g loaf tins, cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until risen by at least half their size again. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  9. To check the dough has proved enough, lightly press it in one corner with your finger; it should leave only a little indentation. Whisk the other egg with a fork, sieve it and use to brush the risen loaves. Bake in the top third of the oven for 25–30 minutes until golden. Turn the bread onto a wire rack; it should feel light and sound hollow when tapped on the underside. If not, return the bread to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

A note on enriching doughs…

  • Adding fats in the form of butter, oil or egg yolk, or adding sugar, alcohol or spices to a bread dough affects the way the yeast and the gluten work. The gluten strands won’t be as strong, so the bread will have a softer, more cake-like texture. The yeast will also work more slowly, so the process will take longer. Often enriched dough bread recipes use a little more yeast to counterbalance these effects. If the liquid used is milk rather than water, it is heated to scalding point to destroy an enzyme that interferes with gluten, then cooled to the right temperature before mixing.
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