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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Basic Bread

This is just my basic sandwich bread formula - you can change lots of things - but if you keep to the basic ratios it should turn out fine &; makes 2 9x5 inch loaves.

Stuff I use:

1 large bowl for mixing dough - about 8 qts
1 3 or 4 qt bowl for rising dough
2 9x5 inch loaf pans
small bowl for proofing yeast

1 package yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups milk/buttermilk

1 tablespoon sugar/honey

1 tablespoon salt

2 or 3 tablespoons butter - melted & cooled a bit

some extra butter for greasing pans and bowl

Flour - I use King Arthur Bread flour, but all purpose works too. Notice there's no quantity for flour ...

I'm a bit weird in this regard - I use about 3 to 3.5 cups of liquid for 2 9 x 5 loaves and just add flour until I can't add any more. If you have 5 lbs of flour on hand you'll be fine - the bread probably takes 2.5 to 3 lbs of flour.

Proof yeast, sugar, warm water in a small bowl

This means - put 1/2 cup warm (like for a baby's bottle) water in the small bowl - stir in sweetemer and then yeast. Leave it until you see it bubble or foam or it gives some indication it's alive

add buttermilk to large bowl (you can warm the buttermilk a bit or not, but it rises slower if cold - maybe 3 hours)

Add salt and melted butter, stir together

Add proofed yeast, then add flour and knead

Add the flour a bit at a time, stirring until it is incorporated - until it is too stiff to stir
Sprinkle with more flour and knead (there are videos online to show you how - it's too hard to describe) since the - adding more flour when it gets sticky. When you can't seem to add any more flour and the dough bounces back when you poke it gently - you're done!

Place in buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled

 How do you know when it's doubled? If you're letting it rise in a 3 or 4 qt bowl - it should reach the top of the bowl approximately  - and it no longer springs back when poked. This (at about 70 degrees takes about 2 - 2.5 hours. Unless you're living in a jungle or an igloo, room temperature is fine!

You can cover the bowl with anything - I use an old cloth napkin

Divide into two portions and form loaves, place in buttered loaf pans and cover

You can be technical and weigh the dough to make sure they are equal in size or just guess. Knead each half a bit with a bit more flour so it doesn't stick. If the dough gets a bit too elastic - let it rest for 5 minutes before forming loaves. I just flatten the dough and fold it up like a letter until it fits in the pan. 

You can slash the tops of the loaves now or after they are risen

Don't cover the pans with anything like saran wrap as it will stick to the rising bread and make a mess and deflate the dough ... use  a cloth napkin or something similar or an overturned bowl

Let rise again

Until the bread is just at or slightly above the rim of the pans - it usually takes a little less time for the second rise than the first

Bake in preheated oven at 375F for about 40 minutes

That's all I can think of - if you have any questions just ask - I may have left something out ...

You can brush the dough with a beaten egg just before baking to make it shiny (or to make sesame or caraway seeds stick

I usually add about 1 cup whole meal flour - rye, oatmeal or whole wheat