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Separate the cauliflower into even-sized florets, cutting round the core, then bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and boil for 8 mins or until just tender. Drain in a colander and allow to steam-dry. Shake the cauliflower if necessary to remove as much water from the crevices as you can. Arrange in a large casserole dish.
To make the sauce, pour the milk into a pan with the butter, bay leaves and cornflour, and heat gently, stirring all the time, until it thickens into a smooth, creamy sauce. Remove the bay leaves, add 100g of the cheese and season to taste. Pour over the cauliflower and scatter with the remaining cheese. If cooking now, go straight to step 3; alternatively, cover and chill. Can be made a day ahead.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Scatter the bread and walnuts over the cauliflower and bake for 25 mins until golden.