OLD-FASHIONED RUSTIC ENGLISH BREAD
2¼ c. white bread flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. fast-rising active dry yeast or 1 oz. fresh yeast
2 1/3 c. tepid milk and water mixed
1 egg white
Salt for glaze
Sift flour and salt into a bowl; stir in sugar and yeast. Make a well in the center; stir in milk and water mix to make the dough. If using fresh yeast, put the yeast in a jug with a little of the milk and water mixture and allow it to dissolve and become frothy, mixing thoroughly before adding to flour. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk. Then knead the dough for 1 minute and divide it into two-thirds and a third. Shape the pieces into rounds. Cover them and leave for 5 minutes. Put the smaller round on top of the larger one. Push a floured wooden spoon through the center of both rounds to join them. Take a sharp knife and make cuts all around the top round and the bottom round. Put the cottage loaf on a lightly floured baking tray, cover and leave for about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven 425°F. Beat the egg white with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the glaze over the cottage loaf and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until dark golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped beneath. Cool before serving.
Delicious with butter, jam, cheese, cold meats or to make sandwiches or toast for picnics and breakfasts.