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 and yeast into a large bowl and blend them together.
Stir in the milk mixture, and as the dough starts to come together, stir in the
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 a large upturned mixing bowl and leave it in a warm place for the dough to double in size, which will take about an hour.
Lightly dust the dough with flour and knead it for 50 presses.
Rub some oil generously around the inside of a baking tray or insert a baking liner.
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 the right and left-hand strands over the central one and pinch the ends together to finish.
Brush the dough with reserved 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 35 minutes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until plump and golden.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then carefully transfer the bread plait to a rack and leave to cool.
Makes 1 loaf
large baking tray and 2 x large mixing bowls
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.