Caution should be taken in preparing this recipe. However, if done successfully, you will have a tea loaf with wonderful subtle flavours. It makes perfect toast, although you should be careful not to let it have access to a toasting fork.
1. In a bowl, mix strong flour with a little sugar. Ensure you use a flour that isn’t stronger than you are, should you need to wrestle it to the ground after rising. Use flour from a reputable mill which provides self defence advice for home bakers.
2. Add salt and yeast. Don’t let them mix until you start to knead the dough. See Appendix A for instructions on what to do if the yeast and salt mix too early, and if necessary, call the emergency services and ask for a helicopter.
3. Add milk and egg, and knead. It is important to mop up any flour sticking to the bowl, so that it doesn’t escape and lurk in crevices. If you suspect this, see Appendix B for advice on dealing with ambushes.
4. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rise. At this stage the dough won’t try to hurt anything it can’t see.
5. After a couple of hours the dough should have doubled in size. Carefully remove the towel. Quickly add softened unsalted butter and fold it in. This will help to prevent the dough getting a good grip if it makes a grab at you. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and orange zest. Under no circumstances substitute lemon zest, although lime may be attempted by experienced bakers with the proper equipment and licenses. Add sultanas, and knead firmly.
6. Re-cover the bowl, and leave for its second prove for another couple of hours. Approach with caution, as the dough will be anticipating you, although at this stage it will only attack if startled. Do not attempt this with children or pets in the room.
7. Butter a loaf tin liberally, and then turn the dough out onto the counter to shape. It will probably struggle and want to stay in the bowl. Shape the dough and put it in the tin. This will need a final prove overnight for the best flavour, but this will also give it further time to start to plot. Ideally the loaf tin should be clamped securely to the counter top. If it manages to flip the tin and hide, a team of specialists will need to be called to catch it.
8. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, egg-wash the top of the loaf, and bake for 35 minutes. It should be dark brown and shiny on top. By this time the load will be fully mature and will be a formidable opponent. Ensure your bread knife is sharp before approaching. Excellent with butter, but note that it will fight with meatloaf so they should be kept separate at all times.
The authors accept no liability for gluten-related injuries or damage, howsoever caused.
Eleanor (she/her) is based in beautiful North Yorkshire, UK. She writes mainly about monsters, especially creatures with tentacles, and is inspired by myths. Twitter – @TentacledWriter