2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp instant active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp warm water (lukewarm)
3/4 cup warm milk (150 ml)
Olive oil for brushing and a little for kneading (add as required)
For the Topping
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tsp red chilli flakes
In a bowl/cup, take the warm water and mix 1 tsp sugar and yeast till dissolved. Let it stand for 8-10 minutes until frothy and foamy.
In a bowl, add the flour and remaining sugar along with salt and mix well. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Now pour the milk, little at a time, and knead a smooth and soft dough. If you find the dough too sticky, add extra flour. Now oil your hands and add just a dash of oil to the dough and knead again on a clean surface (flour it if you need it) for 5-10 minutes. Wrap the dough in a cling wrap and keep in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Now take out the dough and carefully put it on a clean surface and knead it again for 5 minutes. If you are using a dish to place your bread for baking, grease it with little olive oil and keep it ready. Now gently give an oblong shape to the dough with your hands and keep it in the prepared dish for the second proofing for an hour or until doubled in size. Do not forget to wrap it with a cling wrap.
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix all the ingredients for the topping. With a sharp bread knife, make gentle cuts on the top. Do not go too deep, else the dough will deflate. Now with the help of a baking brush or similar, brush the topping on the top of the dough and keep a little aside for brushing again after taking the bread out of the oven. Now pre-heat the oven at the maximum temperature for 20 minutes and bake the bread at 180 degree celsius for 15 minutes without disturbing and then, after checking it once and brushing it with a little more olive oil, for another 10 minutes or until golden crust is formed. Make sure you keep a tray or bowl of warm water inside the oven while baking which helps achieve that golden crust. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Brush the top with the olive oil topping that you had reserved and let it cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to air tight container.