2 1/2 lb/1 kg of strong white flour.
1 oz/30g of yeast or 1/2 oz/15g of dried yeast.
1 or 2 tablespoons of warm water.
1/2 oz/15g salt.
4 oz butter.
1 pt/600ml on warm water.
A little of cream of the top of full fat milk.
Cream the yeast with 1 to tablespoons of warm water and leave for 8 minutes. Melt the butter. Pour the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre of the mix and sprinkle in the salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the well or add dried (without the water). Add the melted butter which should now be warm but not hot. Pour in the milk very gradually, as you may need more or less depending on the mix. Mix all the ingredients lightly together. Knead for 15-20 minutes on a table or other solid surface. When the dough is ready it should be smooth and springy to the touch.
Place back into the bowl and cover with damp cloth with a lid on to prevent drying out, you can use another bowl inverted to do this (we use clingfilm as a modern equivalent but there is something natural about using cloths). Put in a warm place and allow to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. This gives you plenty of time to do some work in the garden, go out or better still just sit down with a good book. After two hours knock back the dough and cut into four and shape in four longish loaves. Place them on lightly floured baking trays. Pre-heat the oven to 220c/Gas mark 7.