Separate the egg into two bowls, cover and save the white for later.
Add the milk to the yolk, beat until combined and set aside.
Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and blend them together.
Stir in the prepared milk, mixing until the dough starts to come together.
Add the melted butter and continue stirring.
Using your hands, bring together a slightly sticky dough and knead it in the bowl knead for 50 presses, without adding flour.
Cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave it in a warm place for the dough to double in size, which will take about an hour.
Line a baking tray with parchment.
Lightly dust the dough with flour and knead it for 20 presses.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces, dust lightly with flour and roll each into a 40cm/16” strand.
Lay the three strands in front of you, on the prepared baking tray, and pinch the furthest ends together.
Plait the dough by gently lifting the right-hand strand over the middle strand to become the middle one. Then cross the left-hand strand over the new central strand so that it becomes the middle strand. Continue lifting right and left-hand strands over the central one and pinch the ends together to finish.
Brush the dough with egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if used.
Pre-heat the oven.
Leave the plait to rise in a warm, draught free place for 25 minutes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until plump and golden.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then carefully transfer the plait to a rack and leave to cool.
Makes 1 loaf
Large baking tray and parchment
200˚C, Fan 180˚C, Gas 6
Free from Soya, Nuts
Vegetarian, Without crystal sugar
This impressive looking loaf makes a table centrepiece or a wonderful gift.