Thursday, January 12, 2012
I May Never Buy Bread Again
Okay, so don't hold me to the title of this post (especially if I ever get to this place), but at the very least, I'll never buy white sandwich bread from the grocery store again.
I started this blog in order to participate in Tuesdays with Dorie, a bi-weekly web-based group that previously baked their way through Dorie Greenspan's Baking. As the group finished that book this past December, they are starting up again, but this time they're baking their way through Baking with Julia and yours truly will be participating.
The first assignment is to bake "White Loaves," which is basically white sandwich bread. We technically do not need to have this completed or blogged about until the second week in February, but today was a rainy blah day - one that practically begged for multiple cups of tea and the aroma of freshly baked bread.
This recipe was super easy and though I don't have much experience in baking bread (it's yet another one of those seemingly simple things that I've always shied away from for some reason), I imagine that the ingredients I used don't differ from most bread recipes - yeast, unbleached all-purpose flour, butter, sugar and salt (not pictured).
After allowing the yeast to foam with the water and sugar, I mixed in the flour using my KitchenAid's dough hook. I love my red KitchenAid and have had her for many years. (Thanks, Mom!)
The dough had to be kneaded for quite awhile, to the point where my little mixer started to heat up and move along the counter. (In the above picture, I am comforting KitchenAid during her efforts. I don't know what I'd do if she ever left me.)
ETA: The second time I made this bread, I made the mistake of leaving the kitchen for a minute, only to hear a huge CLUNK a few minutes later. My poor little KitchenAid literally fell off the counter and cracked one of our kitchen tiles! Thankfully, KitchenAid still worked and only suffered a few tiny bruises.
Next I added butter to the mix. As the recipe predicted, my dough came apart upon the addition of the butter, but eventually it came back together.
I then formed the dough into a ball, placed it in a greased bowl, and allowed it to rise for an hour. I hoped the fact that it looked like a mix between cauliflower and brains did not mean that something went wrong.
After the hour was up and the dough had doubled in size, I divided it in half, rolled out each half into a rectangle, folded it and pinched the seems together.
My folding and pinching could clearly use some work.
Though it's still not very pretty, I then placed each piece in a buttered loaf pan and let the loaves rise for another hour before throwing them in the oven.
The smell wafting from the oven was amazing. We couldn't resist taking a peak (without actually opening the door).
The resulting loaves were a gorgeous soft caramel brown in color.
The result - some of the best white sandwich bread I've ever tasted. The photo makes the bread appear to be a bit dense, but it certainly did not taste that way. I could definitely tell that it was white sandwich bread (as opposed to a country-style boule, French bread, sourdough, etc.), but it was such a step up from the stuff you buy at the supermarket. And it required so little effort.
Next time I make this recipe (which will be soon!), I plan on making some homemade butter to go along with it.