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If you are using milk Iím assuming white bread in which case 260 of liquid is quite low. I would normally do a minimum of 300-320 depending on the flour strength. Bread machines often use 500:360 which is quite a sticky dough.Thanks Colin I will give this a go. I will study your recommendations what you have said sounds like good advice to me I have nothing to lose except my last two teeth. LOL! I will have another try in a week or two and let you know how I got on. I feel a little bit silly as I had a great uncle that was a baker just before the first world war but he passed away before I was born. I think one must be a hard worker to make good bread and I am a bit lazy I will make an effect and see if I can improve thanks again, Colin Ian.
I assume you are activating the dried yeast.
You are right, itís not a lot of kneading, 10min at least. Push the dough away to stretch the gluten, fold, turn 90į and stretch again. When itís done you should be able to do a Ďwindow pane testí, stretch a small part of the dough and you should be able to see your fingers through it without it breaking, the thinner the better.
Proving time sounds ok, but will depend on temp. Give it a poke test - push your finger in up to first knuckle and the indent should come out very slowly & not feel rubbery. (My grandmother told me this is what navels are, god testing the babies to see if they are ready for the oven. Set my biology back by years, but did wonders for my baking )
After proving you need to shape properly. Put the dough on a surface and pull/fold the sides (4) into the centre, this stretches the gluten and seals the surface of the loaf so the CO2 canít escape. Turn it upside down with the folds underneath and put it on your baking sheet - preferably hot sheet in preheated oven. Have a roasting tray of water in the bottom of the oven to keep the air moist.
If you are getting really hard crusts you could bake in a casserole for 1/2 time and then take lid off.