Most basic bread is easy to make. There are a few that require extra steps, rises, shaping, etc. but basic bread is… well… basic. Mix, rise, shape, rise, bake.
I made a few changes to the recipe published by Cookist. Some of them were just language or style differences but a couple were more involved. I use instant yeast so I provided the conversion factor from cake to instant. I knead in a stand mixer so referenced it. I added how long to knead and to tension the loaf before the final rise. I added more description on how to shape the loaf.
INGREDIENTS • 2 cups water • 1 tsp sugar • 8g ( 2 ½ tsp) instant yeast • 5 cups AP flour • 1 tsp salt • 2 tbsp oil
Pour water into a stand mixer bowl, add sugar and yeast. Mix.
Add flour and salt. Mix. Let rise for 15 minutes.
Add sunflower (or other) oil and knead about 8 minutes.
Let rise covered until doubled.
Divide the dough into two parts.
Form a boule from each part, the press out into an oval, roll into a batard
Tension the battery by rolling on a clean surface, cupping your fingers around the bread and rolling the batard back and forth not allowing it to lengthen.
Place on a baking sheet. Let rise until doubled.
On each bread make an incision, paint with milk. Place a cup of hot water on a baking sheet. Cookist’s video showed slashing the bread by cutting in small short strokes rather than one long cut. It worked really well. I will have to try on other bakes.
Bake for 40 minutes at 180 °C / 350 °F until internal temperature reaches 195-200°F.
Tangzhong was developed in Asia and used in both China and Japan as a method of keeping bread soft and fresh. Tangzhong is a mixture of flour, water and milk, heated while stirring until the “water roux” thickens. The tangzhong is added to the rest of the ingredients and processed more or less normally. The result is a soft, pillowy white bread (see how I cleverly incorporated the title into the body of this post?)
I found the rise and proofing times were much longer that suggested in the recipes. I thought my yeast may have lost potency so I tested it in a water/sugar solution. (1/2 cup water @ 110-115F, 1 tsp sugar, 2 1/4 tsp yeast. Mix and after 10 minutes the mixture should have grown to 1 cup. It was fine. The problem is I now had the beginnings of another bread/pastry or something. QA Department to the rescue—See subsequent post on cinnamon rolls.)
The long proof times were likely due to the cooler temperatures in the kitchen today. (It was only 62F when I started.)
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to lukewarm. Dough
Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by mixer or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms; this could take almost 15 minutes in a stand mixer.
Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk. (120 min in cool kitchen)
Gently deflate the dough and divide it into four equal pieces; if you have a scale each piece will weigh between 170g and 175g.
Flatten each piece of dough into a 5″ x 8″ rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again (this time about 3″ x 6″) and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a 4″ log.
Place the logs — seam side down and side by side — in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 60 minutes, until puffy. (I put the dough into a proofing oven for this and let it rise until the tops of the rolls were even with the top of the pan.)
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Brush the loaf with milk and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 190°F.
Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.
Store leftover bread, well wrapped, at cool room temperature for 5 to 7 days; freeze for longer storage.
Eventually we will no longer be sheltering in place. It will be exciting to roll out of the garage door, as the front door will no longer be large enough for me to fit through. I may need a bigger car, or maybe a flat-bed. Enough whining, this is about a new bread recipe.
KAF does it again. This is a crusty, chewy white bread that is delicious. My go to white sandwich bread has been Gold Medals recipe, but this may be the new standard. Even with the lower gluten AP flour this bread is chewy and soft. I had my quality assurance slice for dessert tonight and can only imagine my PB&J sandwich with it tomorrow.
It’s an easy recipe and can be made in a about 3 hours and as today is Monday, which is not a golf day, what else is there to do? Try it. It’s worth it.
Crusty Cloche White Bread
• 1 ¼ cups (283g) lukewarm water • 2 teaspoons instant yeast • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt • 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil • 3 ½ cups (421g) AP Flour
Mix and knead everything together to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until almost doubled.
Gently deflate the dough, shape it into a ball, place in a cloche baker, and cover with the lid.
Let the dough rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until it’s almost doubled in size.
Slash the top of the loaf several times, cover with the lid, and place the cloche in a cold oven.
Set the oven temperature to 400°F; bake the bread for 35 minutes, covered.
Remove the lid, and bake the bread until it’s golden brown, another 5 to 10 minutes. The internal temperature should be 205-210 degrees.
Take it out of the oven, and transfer the bread to a rack to cool.