Sicilian Milk Bread is soft and lightly sweet with a shiny golden crust. It's a yeast bread that requires some time and patience to make but once you pull a warm loaf out of the oven the time is worth it.
Sicilian Milk Bread
Making homemade milk bread is a special treat. It's soft with a golden crust and it's delicious served with just butter and jam for breakfast. It's lightly sweet, but not too sweet.
Milk bread is made with milk, butter and yeast. Unlike other bread recipes that use warm water to activate the yeast, the yeast in this recipe is combined with butter and milk before you add the flour and other ingredients. The milk gives the bread a richer flavor and a very soft texture.
Other types of Italian bread have crusty, chewy crusts but this bread doesn't. The crust is soft and not thick and it turns golden and shiny from the egg wash that is brushed on the dough before it goes in the oven.
Like all yeast bread, this recipe takes some time but it's not complicated. The actual hands-on time is only about 20 minutes and the rest of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise.
Trust me, the scent in the house while it bakes makes the time spent to make it worth it. Here in Italy, we enjoy slices of this delicious bread for breakfast in the morning.
Making the Dough
Using a stand mixer to make the dough makes the process very easy. You can mix and knead the dough by hand, but it will take longer.
- Add all-purpose flour to the yeast mixture and knead it on speed 2. Add the sugar and salt and continue kneading the dough on the same speed for three to four minutes. Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl it's ready.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and turn it a few times to coat it in the oil.
- Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise for two hours in a draft-free spot or until it's doubled in size.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and gently knead it a few times on a lightly floured counter. Divide it into three balls of equal size and place the balls in a prepared 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Cover and let the dough rise again for two hours or until it's doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together and then lightly brush it on top of the dough. You won't need all of the egg wash. Bake the loaf for 25 to 35 minutes. Cool it completely before slicing and serving.
Tips for Baking with Yeast
Most of the time, the difference between a great loaf and one that is not that great is how you handle the yeast. So, read through these tips before you start baking so you don't have any surprises.
- Make sure you use dry active yeast. There are different kinds so double-check the package.
- Check the expiration date. Yes, yeast does expire and once it does it won't work properly or at all. So, don't take any chances and check the date on the package.
- Don't activate the yeast in milk that is too hot or too cold. For this recipe, you will need to warm up the milk to a lukewarm temperature between 105 to 110F. This temperature is ideal for activating the yeast. If it's too hot you could kill the yeast. If it's too cold it may not activate properly.
So, the first thing you will want to do is prepare the milk, butter and yeast. Start by heating the milk and butter together in a pot until the temperature is between 105 and 110F. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for five minutes and then stir to combine.
Once you've activated the yeast, you're ready to make the dough.
More Recipe Tips
I recommend using salted butter for this recipe, but if you have unsalted butter on hand go ahead and use it and add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the recipe. I've noted this in the recipe card.
When you leave the bread to rise it should be left in a spot that is warm and draft-free. If your room is on the cold side it may take longer for it to double in size. The warmer the room the less time it will take so check on it a few times.
Every oven is different so use the bake time as a guide and check on your bread while it's baking. It is done when it's internal temperature is 190F and it should be golden brown on top and firm to the touch.
Store your bread at room temperature. Make sure it's tightly wrapped in plastic and it will keep well for several days.
More Delicious Bread Recipes to try!
It's so delicious, the leftovers won't last long - they never do at my house. Enjoy!
Sicilian Milk Bread
- 1 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon milk (lukewarm) (307 grams)
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled) (92 grams)
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour (500 grams)
- 1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt*
*If you use unsalted butter then add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- In a small pot heat the butter and milk together to the temperature 105 -110F (40-43C) then pour into the bowl of the stand up mixer, add a pinch of sugar and the yeast. Let sit 5 minutes then mix together to combine.
- Add the flour and start to knead on speed 2, add the sugar and salt and knead (no higher then 2) for 3-4 minutes (until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl). Place in a lightly greased bowl (roll the dough in the bowl to cover it in oil) cover the bowl with plastic and a towel and let rise in a warm draft free area for 2 hours (or doubled in bulk).
- Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and gently knead the dough down, form into 3 equal size balls and place them in a lightly greased loaf pan (9x5 inch / 22x12cm). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise one hour in a warm draft free area.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Brush the loaf with the egg wash (you won't need it all). Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes. Let cool then serve. This is a Sicilian bread that is served for breakfast in the morning with a granite.
- In a small bowl beat together the egg and milk.