If you are mixing your dough by hand place the flour, salt, yeast and potato starch in a roomy mixing bowl then add the milk and 150ml of the water and mix to a rough dough. The dough will be quite dry so add the rest of the water little by little until you achieve a sticky stretchy dough. Knead the dough for at least ten minutes until it becomes stretchy, smooth and non sticky.
I mix my bread in a table top mixer fitted with a dough hook – I usually place the yeast into the bottom of the bowl then add the potato starch followed by the flour, salt and finally the milk and water. Add 280ml of the liquid then mix long enough for the dough to form a ball. This takes about 5-6 minutes on the lowest speed. Add then add the rest of the liquid a little at a time. The dough ball will bang around in the mixer in the newly added liquid which makes a much better job of mixing than adding all the liquid at the start. Continue to knead the bread dough, increasing the speed slightly and mix until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, the bowl is clean and the dough smooth and stretchy – avoid adding extra flour. This mixing will take about 10 minutes.
Kneading by hand will take at least ten to fifteen minutes. I use spray oil to grease a glass bowl – transfer the dough and cover with a shower cap which I use over and over again. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size. This usually takes an hour.
When the dough has risen turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knock back gently, eliminating any air bubbles then shape into a bloomer and transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet.
Leave to prove for 40-50 minutes until the loaf has doubled in size. Spray over with a fine mist of cold water and a dusting of flour, neatly slash with a sharp knife then bake at 220 degrees for 30 minutes until dark golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and and leave to cool completely before slicing.
TIP – The addition of potato starch or powdered instant mashed potato flakes will encourage the yeast to rise. Potato starch and flakes also soak up liquid which means this recipe contains more water than usual. More water means a lighter dough and a bread that will last up to 4 days.
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