Thursday, January 6, 2011
You know you've made it, when your baking products are special requested . Even more so when you are asked to bake a kind of bread for which you don't really have a specific recipe to rely on. By this I mean someone asks you for bread that is supposed to be for a purpose without saying something like, "Gee, could you make your raisin bread again?" Or something like that. This week I got a request that, to paraphrase went something like this... I'm tired of all the fancy 'artisan' bread with the crust and crumb and all the rest. Could you please just make some ordinary sandwich bread. Plain white bread for making a good sandwich. Nothing 'special',. Just regular bread for regular folk"! Well I was up to the challenge and this time, I didn't have to consult any cookbook or Google it anywhere. I created this recipe out of my head, using things I know about the characteristics of all the ingredients. Along with my goal of producing bread with a specific purpose. Not a dessert bread. Not brioche or anything fancy. Just everyday, pedestrian bread. Everybread, if you will.
Here's What You'll Need:
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 Tbs. dry yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
about 4 cups AP flour
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
2 Tbs. milk powder*
Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. Dissolve the sugar in the water then mix in the yeast . Stir to dissolve then let the yeast sit for about 10 minutes until it gets frothy.
2. Add 1 cup of the flour and stir to make a smooth mixture. Add the egg, the oil , the powdered milk* and finally the salt, mixing each in turn to make sure there are no lumps.
3. Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time. Stir until the dough is too dense to mix with a spoon, then place the rest of the dough on a floured table and knead until it is smooth and only slightly tacky. Finally placed the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with the oil, then cover to rise.
4. Let the dough rise, covered, until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours), in a warm place.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl, being careful not to de-gas the dough too much, and shape it into a loaf shape by 'stretching' the dough and pulling it create a tight surface.Place the loaf in a prepared pan. seam side down and let it rise, again, until it reaches the top of the pan.
6. About 15 minutes before the end of the second rise, heat the oven to 350F (175C). Then bake the bread for about 23 minutes. If it browns too fast, lightly 'tent' it with aluminum foil to slow the browning process.
7. Brush the loaf with olive oil or with melted butter (or margarine) when you remove it from the oven, then cool it on a rack.
* Sometimes it is difficult to find powdered dry milk outside of the US and Canada. In that case, I often use baby formula powder instead. Yes, that's right. Baby formula powder. If you want, you can also use the non-dairy version to keep your bread from containing dairy products. The baby formula acts to soften the bread, and increases the 'shelf life', i.e., it will stay fresh longer. It really works. I have used the Materna brand successfully for years very successfully. Try it, you'll love it!