Place the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl. Rub butter into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast, then add all the remaining ingredients except the milk.
Pour the milk into a jug and add 125ml (4fl oz) boiling water. Test the temperature of the milk and water mixture — it should be no more than hand hot. Stir into the dough and mix well until the dough gathers into a soft ball.
Turn the mixture out on to a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place on a baking tray. Leave in a warm place, for about 1-1½ hours until it doubles in size and feels very light and airy.
Preheat the oven to Gas 6, 200°C, fan180°C. When ready to bake, brush the top of the risen dough with the milk. To make the cross, mix the flour and water to make a soft but pipeable paste. Pour the mixture into a disposable piping bag, snip the end and pipe a cross over the dough.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Turn loaf over and tap its base — if it sounds hollow it is cooked. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Best eaten on the day it is made or the following day. Also delicious toasted.
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