“…there is the moment when that warm bread comes from the oven and the aroma envelops you; you just have to sit down with a big slab of fresh bread and butter and a glass of wine” — James Beard.
Making bread is quite the experience. Its pure joy to see them rise every single time you bake them – to see their glistening selves as they emerge out of the oven and when you thump their bottoms to get that hollow sound – And apart from clean hands and the regular bowl and ingredients, you don’t need any other equipment to bake bread…a good, calibrated oven, of course!
Bread – so simple, yet so complex. You can afford to make it rich, or you can adapt to make it lean – and it still tastes great.
Bread always makes me feel thankful…thankful for provision, thankful for all the factors that aid me to produce a hand made loaf on the dining table.
”The taste of bread is so much a product of the local ingredients, the humidity of the air, the quality of the water, and even the fingers and hands of the baker…”
This bread formula is good just the way it is. Makes you feel good each time you bake them. Now all you need is good company to break bread with.
1 tablespoon (0.33 oz / 9 g) instant yeast
1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (15 oz / 425 g) lukewarm milk (any kind; at about 95°F or 35°C)
6¼ cups (28 oz / 794 g) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.5 oz / 14 g) salt, or 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
5½ tablespoons (2.75 oz / 78 g) sugar, or ¼ cup honey or agave nectar
6 tablespoons (3 oz / 85 g) vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
1 egg (1.75 oz / 50 g)
Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved. Set aside for 1 to 5 minutes.
Combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil, and egg in a mixing bowl, then pour in the milk mixture. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for about 2 minutes. The dough should be coarse and slightly sticky.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky.
Whichever mixing method you use, knead the dough by hand for 1 minute, then form it into a ball.
You can use this dough to make any number of soft rolls, such as silver dollars (about 1 ounce each), butterflake (about 1½ to 2 ounces each), hot dog and hamburger buns (about 2½ to 3½ ounces each), and various knotted rolls (about 1½ ounces to 3 ounces each).
Soft rolls should be brushed with egg wash a few minutes before baking. After applying the egg wash, you can garnish with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you like.
The total baking time is 12 to 18 minutes, depending on size, at 400°F (204°C).
Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. (If you plan to bake the dough in batches over different days, you can portion the dough and place it into two or more oiled bowls at this stage.)
ON BAKING DAY
Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2½ hours before you plan to bake and divide it in half; each piece should weigh about 25 ounces (709 g), which is perfect for 4½ by 8-inch pans. For a 5 by 9-inch pan, use 28 to 32 ounces (794 to 907 g) of dough. Shape into sandwich loaves, then place them in greased loaf pans to rise. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap; then let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2½ hours, until it domes about 1 inch above the rims of the pans.
About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. The bread is done when the top is golden brown, the sides are firm and brown, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is at least 185°F (85°C) in the center.
Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.
Thanks for stopping by…