If using chamomile and lavender, then warm the milk the night before making the bread. Pour the warm milk over dried chamomile and lavender flowers. Refrigerate overnight to let the flowers steep in the milk and release the flavours.
The morning before making the bread, take the milk out and strain the dried flowers out. Let the flavoured milk come to room temperature before using it to knead dough.
Mix together the lukewarm water, honey and yeast in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes till frothy. Put the frothy yeast and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead by hand or in processor or stand mixer. Knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 90 minutes. Halfway through the rise, fold the dough onto itself four times to gently deflate it and add strength.
In the meanwhile, lightly grease the base and lid of a 9″ Pain de Mie pan (Pullman loaf pan).
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently deflate it and pat it into a 7.5″ x 8″ rectangle. With the long side facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the centre and then the top third over (like a business letter). Now fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand.
Now, the shaped dough should be about 9-inches in length to fit the Pullman pan. Place the dough seam-down into the pan. Press it evenly into the corners. Put the lid on the pan and close all but an inch or so in order to monitor the loaf as it rises.
Let the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan. This should take about 60 to 90 minutes. At the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Close the lid of the pan completely, and put the pan in the oven.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides. Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not slice the loaf until it has cooled down completely.