FFTO Baking Challenge – November

Posted on November 28, 2009


The Fresh From The Oven (FFTO) Challenge for November was set by ‘Goodshoeday” from with knife and fork blog. It is a White Tin Loaf that uses Dan Lepard’s kneading method and has milk in the recipe to keep it soft and slightly sweet. It was quite a nice challenge to have as although the bread bowls last month were very interesting and a great conversation piece, I was ready for a good ‘ole loaf of bread that I could eat, toast and make sandwiches from.

Various things have got in the way of baking recently and my bread and cake quota has been way down. I have been heading to the other side of Derby most days to see my Mum in hospital as she had a fall back home whilst we were away in Wales. Finally she was released on Thursday and on Sunday Ed was at a tool show in Harrogate so I had a quiet day at home with George to allow me to mooch around in a dressing gown and start the proving process.

I started off as suggested by making quite a sticky dough, but I think I might have gone a bit too far down the sticky route as I was struggling to get the dough off my fingers, the worktop and even to get the gooey lump out of the bowl. I did the series of quick kneads and short proves then left the dough for the requisite hour hoping for it to double in size. It didn’t. It sat there resolutely at the same size for nearly two hours. At this point I put the central heating on and up it puffed. I am not so sure about the economy of making your own bread sometimes, when you add in your time, ingredients, electricity for the oven and a good dollop of central heating, each loaf probably costs about a tenner! I costed out a batch of brownies recently and with the 70% chocolate and all the other goodies (1/2lb of butter and 3 tons of sugar) it came out at £5.50 for 12.

Anyway – back to my loaf. Here it is after I shaped it and put it in the tin, I really must get a sharper blade for slashing the tops of loaves as this one looks like it was nibbled open by squirrels:

I did the ‘River Cottage’ check as suggested after 10 minutes and it was just starting to brown, so I turned down the oven to 180 for the remainder of the time. It’s a bit dark in my oven:

The light was fading by the time it came out, and by then visitors had arrived so this picture is very grainy as I rushed to take it in the twilight by the window. It gave me chance to have a go with my new noise reduction software.

The next day we used it for sandwiches and beans on toast and it worked out well for both, it slices easily and seems to last quite well too. It’s definitely one to add to my repertoire and I have put Dan Lepard’s book on my Christmas/Birthday list.

Below are the original instructions from the Fresh From The Oven blog:

White Tin Loaf (based on Dan Lepard’s Quick White Loaf, p63 of the Handmade Loaf)

2lb loaf tin greased and floured or lined with baking parchment (no need to line the short ends just oil them). Oven to be pre-heated to its maximum setting (R10/250C) and with a tray of water in the bottom to create steam.


  • 200g semi skimmed milk at room temp (Dan uses whole milk but semi skimmed seems to work fine)
  • 150g water at room temp (remember 1g = 1ml but its easier to be accurate weighing fluids)
  • 1 tsp fast action yeast (or 2 tsp fresh yeast crumbled)
  • 200g plain white flour
  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt


Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl. Mix the water and milk together in a separate bowl and whisk in the yeast.

Add the liquid to the flour and mix with the fingers of one hand to a soft sticky rough dough. You may need to add a little more liquid do this a teaspoon at a time until you have a soft sticky dough. You must use oil not flour on the kneading surface and your hands. Something like vegetable oil is good.

The dough must be quite sticky and soft to start with. It will firm up when kneaded and as time progresses.

  • Once you have soft sticky dough leave it covered in the bowl for 10 minutes.
  • Now oil your kneading surface and hands and tip the dough out.
  • Knead for about 12 seconds by folding in the edges to the centre, a bit like shaping a round loaf, rotate the dough as you go.
  • Flip the dough over, leave it on the surface and cover with a cloth. Wash out the bowl and then oil it lightly. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover.
  • Leave for 10-15 minutes and then do another 12 second knead. You will notice the dough is already less sticky and firmer.
  • Leave for 20 -30 mins and repeat the fast knead. You are aiming to have kneaded the dough 3 times in the first hour.
  • Leave covered to rise until at least 50% larger but not more than double in size.
  • Tip out onto the oil surface and press the air out of the dough using the tips of your fingers so its square-ish in shape. Repeat the fast knead process (or fold in to thirds then rotate through 90, flatten again and fold into 3rds again).
  • Shape the dough as required for the particular loaf you are making. Put it in a tin, or supported in a floured cloth in a bowl.
  • Leave to rise until at least 50% larger and preferably almost double in size.
  • Slash top and bake as per your recipe.

The first rise will probably take about an hour from the last knead.

To shape for a tin loaf, flatten the dough to a square about the same width as your tin. Roll the dough into a cylinder and press the seam firmly, fold under the two short ends and place in the tin seam side down. Allow to rise (covered) to 1 ½ to 2 times volume i.e. to the top of the tin.

Slash the top of the loaf along it length and put it straight into the oven for 10 minutes at maximum temperature. After 10 minutes check how it’s browning and drop the temperature as follows (these baking guidelines are from the River Cottage Bread Book):

  • R6/200C if the crust is pale
  • R4/180C if crust is noticeably browning
  • R3/170C if crust is browning quickly
  • And cook for a further 40-50 minutes.