Thursday, June 17, 2010

And the bread...

My last post reminded me that several people have asked me to post my bread recipe. Here's my no-fail recipe for basic sandwich bread. I almost never buy it from the grocery store...the recipe is easy, foolproof, and makes the house smell great!

No-fail sandwich bread
1 cup warm (110 degree) water
2.5 tsp active dry yeast (I use Red Star)
2 tsbp sugar
3 cups bread flour (I use 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour)
1tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Here's the secret...add the water, yeast, and sugar to the bread machine pan and let it sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. When it foams up, you're good to go. Then add the remaining ingredients and set it for the dough cycle. (I think this tip would work for any bread machine recipe...just IGNORE the order that the recipe tells you to put things in and do it this way instead).

When the dough cycle completes, remove the dough (it will probably be pretty soft) and use a rolling pin to flatten it out into a rectangle and remove all air bubbles. Roll it into a loaf shape, tucking the seams under at the ends. Place it into a greased bread plan and use a sharp knife or razor blade to slit the top lengthwise. Allow to rise for 20 minutes or so until doubled in size.

Don't let it rise too long. It will double in size again during baking. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Remove it from the pan promptly after baking (otherwise it gets soggy) and enjoy!

A word about flour...bread flour is a must, at least for me. It contains more protein and gluten to give the finished product a chewy, moist, professional texture. Bread baked with regular flour seems spongy and dry to me. That goes for pizza dough too. :)

The loaf pictured is actually a whole wheat loaf...I use white whole wheat flour in almost everything I bake to sneak in extra nutrients and fiber. The ratio is 2 parts regular flour to one part whole wheat. King Arthur's is the bomb!

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