Preparation time: 1½ hours, plus rising time and drying time
Baking time: 1 hour
Oven temperature: 190°C
1 Mix the yeast and sugar with 500ml water. Stir in 30g flour and leave in a warm place for one to two hours, to ferment until frothy.
2 Heat the butter, milk and 50ml water together until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add 5ml salt and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
3 Sift the remaining flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lukewarm mixture. Stir from the inside outwards until the mixture forms a stiff dough. Add a little more warm water if the dough is too stiff.
4 Knead the dough very well, then put it into a bowl. Brush the surface with a little extra melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then wrap the bowl in a thick blanket and set aside to rise for three to four hours.
5 When well risen, roll pieces of dough into long rolls 4cm in diameter. Cut off 4cm pieces and pack them closely together in greased, deep loaf pans. Brush with melted butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for about three hours or until well risen.
6 Bake in a preheated oven for one hour. Remove from the oven and cool, then pull into pieces. Lay them out on wire racks and dry them out in a very low oven, leaving the door slightly ajar.
Words and image: Ideas magazine