I admit it. I have a bread machine. I was consistently underwhelmed by the results from this device. Currently, it is in storage in the garage. I also have a KitchenAide mixer with a dough hook and am very pleased with the consistently good results from this device. It both mixes the ingredients and does 90% of the kneading. It would probably do all the kneading but there is something satisfying about having your hand on, and in the dough, feeling it develop the gluten into a soft, resilient ball.
Here is a tip: if, while using your stand mixer to knead bread, it walks across the table, put a silicone baking liner under the mixer. I buy a Cooks Essentials 24″ x 72″ roll every year or so.
After a long search (and many test bakes) for a “go to” white sandwich bread recipe I found one on, of all places, the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour, duh! I have changed the Method a little, but held pretty close to the Ingredients. I did try substituting butter for the shortening, no big difference, but don’t leave it out. I tried both bread and AP flour, and prefer bread. (I am making bread… why would I not use bread flour?)
- 6 to 7 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour* or Better for Bread® bread flour
- 3 Tbl sugar
- 1 Tbl salt
- 2 Tbl shortening – NOTE: 1 Tbl shortening weighs 13g, easier to weigh than spoon
- 4 1/2 tsp quick active dry yeast (2 packages regular)
- 2 ¼ cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
- 2 Tbl butter or margarine, melted, if desired
- In large bowl, with the dough hook, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water. Beat on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle, not very sticky.
- Increase the speed to medium, KitchenAide (4 or 5) and knead for 7 minutes.
- Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and springy.
- Spray large bowl (I use a dough rising bucket with snap on top) with canola, or other sprayable oil. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap (if using the bucket, spray the lid also) and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. (I use the proofing setting on my oven. This is a little higher temperature than recommended but the results justify the process.) Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
- Spray the bottoms and sides of two 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
- Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. (I find I end up with two 750g dough. Gently flatten each half with shaping into a 18×9-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. (I used to use a rolling pin, but I prefer the texture by treating the dough more gently and not deflating too much.) Roll dough up, beginning at 9-inch side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal and form a tight seal. Pinch each end of roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Here is another point of option. You can either brush loaves lightly with butter a this point, or for a crustier crust, don’t. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
- Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425°F.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. For the crusty crust, add a baking pan below the bread and pour a cup of water into the hot pan when you put the bread in to bake. Remove the pan and water after 10 minutes and let the bread continue to bake.
- Remove from pans to wire rack. For a softer, but still chewy crust brush loaves with butter, otherwise leave them dry; cool.