Monday, May 11, 2020

Homemade White Bread


OK, so, right off the bat, I should tell you, I'm not the biggest bread baker of the world. I mean, I've dabbled here and there, but full disclosure, I've always felt a little intimidated by it. But just like anything else, the way to diffuse the fear of it is to learn about it. So I began reading different bread recipes, reading about why yeast makes it rise, etc. and then it started to make more sense to me. Now it doesn't seem so daunting! So I decided to try just a basic white bread recipe. I figured if I'm gonna start baking breads, I might as well start with the basics, right? I found this recipe from a blog called the Brown Eyed Baker, and I swear to you it's REALLY easy! I just followed the recipe straight through, and it turned out perfectly on the first go! Yes, the two loaves of bread in the picture are the very first loaves of white bread I've ever baked! Aren't they perfect? And I love that the first thing I ate on a toasted slice of home made bread was some of my home made jam. FABULOUS. I guess I now have to start making home made butter to go with it, right? It's gonna happen!
 So if you've ever thought of baking white bread, this recipe is the one to try. Like I said, it's REALLY easy and user friendly, and the final product was just as yummy as you want it to be. There's just nothing like warm baked bread right out of the oven. You MUST try it!

4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast two 0.25-ounce packets 
3/4 cup + 2 2/3 cups warm water divided  
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon salt  
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature 
9 to 10 cups all-purpose flour  
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, for brushing

  In the bowl of a mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup of the warm water, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 2/3 cups water, sugar, salt, room temperature butter, and 5 cups of the flour and stir to combine.
Using a dough hook, mix on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky (you may not need to use all of the flour). Continue to knead until a soft ball of dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, about 7 to 10 minutes.
 Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over so it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
 Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press it all over to remove any air pockets. Divide the dough in two and, working with one piece at a time, gently pat it into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting on the short end, into a very tight cylinder. Pinch to seal the seams and the ends, tuck the ends of the roll until the bread, and place into greased 9" loaf pans. Cover the loaves loosely and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
Position an oven rack on the lowest setting and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
 Brush the loaves with some of the melted butter. Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195ºF).
 Remove from the oven and immediately brush with more of the melted butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before slicing. The bread can be stored in an airtight bread bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe Tips:
This recipe can be halved to make only one loaf.
You can substitute active dry yeast for the instant yeast. Ensure that it is indeed activated in step #1 before continuing, and note that the rise times will be slightly longer.

Joey's Tips:
Sometimes we get sidetracked and we forget about the dough as it's rising, which causes it to over proof. This is when it rises up and then sort of collapses on itself. If this should happen, fear not! All hope is not lost! Oddly enough, the solution to over proofing is to proof it again. Just press it back out on the work surface, roll it up like you did before, and put it back in the loaf pan. It will proof again, only this time, maybe set a timer so you won't forget about it again!

No comments: