Quin’s Loaf

A soft, milky bread, rolled with thin slices of prosciutto, Quirfs Loaf is delicious cut into slices and spread with butter. It also makes a delightful and somewhat different bread to serve with a summer salad.

ONE

12-POUND LOAF

3 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

J oz. fresh yeast

1 tablespoon plus

1 teaspoon sugar

4 teaspoons lukewarm water

15 fl. oz. milk

12 lb. flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

6 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced

GLAZE

1 egg, lightly beaten with

1 tablespoon milk

With the teaspoon of butter, grease a Impound loaf tin and set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the z teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the water and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast has risen and is puffed up and frothy.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan, place it over moderately high heat and scald the milk (bring to just below boiling point). Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining butter. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and allow the milk and butter mixture to cool to lukewarm.

Sift the flour, the remaining sugar and the salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast and the milk and butter mixture. Using your lingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead it for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 1 hours or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a large rectangle, about 6-inches wide and 10-inches long. Lay the slices of prosciutto over the dough, slightly overlapping them. Roll the dough up Swiss roll style and place it in the prepared loaf tin, seam side down. Cover with a damp cloth and return to a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.

Preheat the oven to very hot 475 F (Gas Mark 9, 240 C).

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the loaf with the glaze. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to hot 425 F (Gas Mark 7, 220 C) and continue to bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes.

After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaf out and rap the under-side with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If the bread does not sound hollow, reduce the oven temperature to fairly hot 375 F (Gas Mark 5, 190 C), return the loaf, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack.

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