Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Basic White Bread
It's been a while since I posted a sandwich bread on this blog, as usually all the yeasted goodies are posted on my bread blog. But White Bread is the first choice in the all new Tuesdays With Dorie baking group, wherein we begin our journey through Dorie Greenspan's book Baking With Julia.
That's right, there will be more Dorie on Tuesdays! I thought long and hard about whether to join the new group. I hemmed and hawed. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I waffled. And then, I decided to give it a try; we'll see how it goes.
The recipes in the new book tend to be more complex than Dorie's recipes in the previous TWD book, Baking From My Home to Yours, were so the group is only going to bake 2 recipes per month. I am aiming to bake at least one of the selections each month, posting on the appropriate Tuesday. For the next several months I'll also be catching up on all of the recipes that I missed from the early days of the first TWD, posting on close to the date when they were originally assigned for the TWD group four years ago.
The book for this round of TWD, Baking With Julia is based on the Master Chefs television series that aired back in the 1990s. Julia Child was the host of the series, and 26 bakers were guests on the show, baking with Julia Child in her kitchen. Dorie Greenspan made it all into this book. Of course the book's recipes are not Dorie's, or even Julia's, and it's going to be fun to try recipes from many different bakers in the course of this new version of TWD.
- The bread recipe is a contribution by baker Craig Kominiak. If you want to bake this bread, you can find the recipe on Jules' blog, here, as she is one of our hosts this week, along with Laurie of Slush. Or you could buy the book and bake along with the group; the last I heard there are 300+ blogs from almost every state and from countries around the globe.
- I like a sturdy crumb on my bread, so I used bread flour.
- I never use with active dry yeast when baking, but instead use instant yeast, which doesn't need to be 'proofed' or activated. To convert, use about 3/4 the amount that you would use of active dry yeast. The instant yeast is added along with the flour.
- My stand mixer has been ailing for a couple of years (I'm hoping that 2012 will be the year of Operation Repair Kitchen Aid.) I've learned to avoid kneading dough with a mixer but to knead by hand, which I enjoy, or use my food processor instead. I learned the food processor method from Rose Levy Beranbaum and I like it so much that even when my stand mixer is fixed I won't go back to making bread dough with it. When using a food processor, the ingredients are mixed in a slightly different order but the dough turns out much more quickly and I think just as beautifully. So, using this method, I first put dry ingredients together in my food processor, including the instant yeast and pulsed several times to mix the ingredients together. Than I added the water and finally the salt, pulsing until the dough pulled together and the gluten began to develop. Then I turned the dough onto the counter and kneaded it by hand, adding softened butter as I kneaded, although I could have done this step in the food processor also.
- My dough was very slow on both rises: it took 2 hours for first rise and 1.5 hours for the loaves to rise after they were formed. I just told myself that the dough was developing more flavor!
- I made half recipe of the bread dough, which I split and baked in two medium-ish metal pans of slightly different sizes. Did you know that if you save the papers from sticks of butter they are great for greasing baking pans? This time I also used the papers to line the bottoms of the pans to make sure the loaves would release.
We enjoyed the bread toasted with butter - it has a sturdy crumb and the browned crust was a bit chewy in a good artisan-white-bread way. While this bread doesn't unseat our very favorite white bread, it is one that we savored down to the very last crumb.
If you want to see a passel of other white bread posts, head over here and start clicking on links to the other bakers in the all-new Tuesdays With Dorie!