Set the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and line a 25cm (10in) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper. In a large bowl mix the milk, eggs, sugar and yeast and leave to sit in a warm place for 10 minutes. Sieve the flour into the bowl and mix well. Add the nuts (and fruit if you’re using it – see below) and, last, the salt. Pour into the loaf tin and put in a warm place to prove (30-45 minutes).
When the mixture has risen to within 1cm (½in) of the top of the tin, gently brush with the glaze and place in the oven. After 5 minutes turn the temperature down to 170°C/340°F/Gas 3—4 and cook for a further 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the loaf and make sure the top doesn’t burn; if it does overbrown, lay a piece of tin foil loosely over it. The bread is cooked when a knife inserted into it comes out clean or when a gentle tap gives a hollow sound. Allow it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then tip on to a cake rack, remove the paper and leave to cool completely.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.