Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A little something special**

Now, I wanted to leave you all with something spectacular. Spring break is here, and I'm going to Virginia Beach! So, I will not be able to post for a week or so. I know that you have seen a lot of bread before, and probably some bread that looks like the picture above. Don't be fooled. I hate to pick favorites, but I have to say that I am partial to this bread! I think that it was the second bread that I have made from the bread bible, and probably the best ever. This is the softest bread I have made, and has the most tender crumb ever. It has a rich and buttery taste too. Every couple of weeks my mom requests this bread, it is her favorite. I think that it is everybody's favorite! Hehe. This bread is not that difficult to make either. The directions can be a little intimidating though. . .

Its nice to have all of this clarification, but yeah. . . it is a little long.
I have made this bread so many times now that I don't have to read the directions, just make sure I add the right amount of ingredients. It is fun to work with the dough, it is silky soft. You can probably tell that I made the bread at night, because of the tint of my pictures. Its just that, when the need for fresh bread hits, resistance is futile. I HAVE to make it. now. So as usual, I cant wait for it to cool properly because everyone in the house is hovering over it. Yohann finally goes, "well are we going to cut it open, or just look at it all night."Right now as my mom glances over my shoulder, she's telling me wants me to make another batch of this bread for our 12 hour car ride tonight and tomorrow. When I get back I will have lots of pictures of the beach for you to see! : D
Basic soft white sandwich loaf
The bread bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 1/2 tbs all purpose flour.
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbs + 1tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast
Make the sponge. In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the flour, water, honey, and instant yeast. Whisk until very smooth, to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a thick batter, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.

Flour mixture:
  • 2 cups + 3tbs all purpose flour
  • 1/4 dry milk
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 9 tbs butter softened
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
-->Make the flour mixture and add to the sponge. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (reserve 1/4 cup if mixing by hand), dry milk, and instant yeast. Sprinkle this on top of the sponge and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow it to ferment for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature. (During this time, the sponge will bubble through the flour blanket in places: this is fine).

-->Mix the dough.

-->Add the salt and butter to the bowl and, with a wooden spoon or with your hand, stir until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together, then scrape it onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, enough to develop the gluten structure a little, addind as little of the reserved flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point, it will be very sticky. Cover it with an inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. (This resting time will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with).

-->Knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until it is very smooth and elastic. It should still be tacky enough to cling slightly to your fingers a little. If the dough is still very sticky, however, add some of the remaining reserved flour, or a little extra.

-->Shape the dough and let it rise. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and cut it in half. Shape each piece into a loaf; the exact size is not important at this point. (A long side of the dough should be facing toward you). Dimple the dough with your fingers to deflate any large bubbles. Fold over the right side of the dough to a little past the center. Fold over the left side of the dough to overlap it slightly. Press the center overlap section with the side of your hand to seal the dough. Starting at the top end of the dough, roll it over three or four times, until it reaches the bottom edge of the dough: with each roll, press with your thumbs to seal it and at the same time push it away from you slightly to tighten the outer skin. As you roll and press, the dough will become wider. If it is not as long as the pan, place both hands close together on top of the dough and, rolling back and fourth, gradually work your way towards the ends, gently stretching the dough. For the most even shape, it is important to keep a tight skin on the surface of the dough and not to tear it. If you want the edges of the loaf to be smooth, tuck the sides under. Place the loaves in the prepared loaf pans; the dough will be about 1/2 inch from the top of the pans. Cover them with a large container, or cover them loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and allow to rise until the center is about 1 inch above the sides of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the dough is pressed with a fingertip, the depression will very slowly fill inches

-->Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F 45 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on it, and a cast-iron skillet or sheet pan on the floor of the oven, before preheating.

-->Bake the bread. Quickly but gently set the pans on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 50 minutes or until medium golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 210F). Halfway through baking, turn the pans around for even baking.

-->Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, for as long as you can manage ; )


liz said...

This looks delicious ... There's something about freshly baked white sandwich loaf that's sooo addicting. Have a good trip!

noble pig said...

Wow looks yummy, I'm going to look for it in the Bread Bible.

Have a great trip!

RecipeGirl said...

Yay! I love to snatch up other people's favorite bread recipes! Sounds perfect!


Nick said...

I know what you mean about the soft and silky bread. Maybe somewhat like Wonderbread but not completely fake and heavily overprocessed, but a nice homey, earthy feel, taste and texture. I hope you spread some peanut butter on that badboy =)

- The Peanut Butter Boy

Peter M said...

Your bread reminds me of big fluffy loaves I used to see on the Little House on The Prairie...and that's a good thing!

Bellini Valli said...

I should have my own copy of the bread bible. There is nothing like bread fresh from the oven slathered in butter...and the aroma..let's not forget the aroma:D

Kitt said...

That looks perfect.

And your vacation! I'm jealous. Have fun!

Emiline said...

Have fun at the beach, and your bread looks great.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

i want a mountain of nutella on this, and peanut butter, and cheesy processed cheddar cheese, then melt it hahaha heaven

Life in Recipes said...

My daughter would go crazy for this bread. Have a fun break!

MissGinsu said...

*sigh* I haven't baked bread in sooo long. Maybe this is the weekend to finally do it. Have a relaxing break!

Elle said...

Oh, such a pretty bread! Have a great vacation!

Hello, I'm Sally. said...

Have a great vacation! I need to share my favorite bread recipe with you. Maybe I'll get to posting it and have it ready for when you get back.

Aran said...

Have fun on vacation! Great job on the bread!

White On Rice Couple said...

I love thick slices of home made, buttery bread! Your mom is sooo lucky to have you baking these for her!
Have fun at the beach and we look forward to seeing your pictures!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

Your bread looks lovely and light. Well done.

daphne said...

oo.. I see lots and lots of sandiches. Fresh bread always make the house smells so welcoming too

Michelle Ann said...

YUM!!! And have fun on Spring Break...not that I know what that is anymore. :)

Marc @ norecipes said...

I really need to work on my breadmaking skills. This looks amazing!

BrentwoodKitchen said...

Looks great. I will have to try it. Definitely not an easy task.

pinknest said...

resistance is definitely futile when it comes to bread. hope you have a lovely spring break!

xoxoTori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xoxoTori said...

That looks delicious! I love bread. Its my weakness. I've been looking around your blog and you are a great baker/cook. I like to bake and I'm currently learning to cook right now. I may try some of your recipes!
Also check out my blog you might like it (: