Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bonus Post - Bread week - 3/1/2016

This week I'm reading 52 Loaves by William Alexander, which is about baking bread. So I decided to bake some bread today, and then I decided to tell you all about it. I'm using my mum's bread recipe, which has been historically well received. It would not, spoiler alert, meet with Alexander's exacting standards in that it has milk and butter in it. But that's a discussion for Friday. Today, I'm making bread!

First, here's the recipe [with my added notations]:

Bread Dough
1/4 cup margarine [I'm using butter, because I prefer to bake with butter] + 1 cup milk. Heat 2 mins [microwave - this recipe dates to when Mum adapted her bread recipe to the microwave]. Let cool.

1 cup tepid water ~[1/2 cup boiling water + ~1/2 cup water from the fridge {I have a jug of water in the fridge - don't you?}], 1 tsp sugar - mix, Add 1 Tbsp yeast. [Red Star dried yeast today]. Let sit 10 minutes. [Technically, I've been told that this step, "proofing" the yeast, is not necessary with modern yeast which is unlikely to be dead in the jar. But I really like watching the yeast get all bubbly! And it certainly doesn't hurt anything to proof the yeast.]

[Yup. That yeast is alive and kicking.]

Mix yeast mix with tepid milk. Add 3-4 cups of flour until dough is smooth and not sticky. [I should say, I've made this recipe many many times, and it's never needed less than 4 cups of flour. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. Oh, also, I added a good tsp of kosher salt, because my butter was unsalted.] Knead on floured board [or the counter] until dough is springy. [classically, a thumb print should spring back out of the dough when it has been sufficiently kneaded.]

Wedding ring in partial shadow...
Smooth, and not sticky

[Kneading dough is one of the few times when I remove my wedding band, because getting bread dough out of the engraving is a right pain the keister. {the engraving, because someone will want to know, reads, in Hebrew, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."}]

Put 1 Tbsp oil in empty bowl and coat dough with oil.

Microwave 1 cup [mug] of water  for 3 mins on high.

Put in bread 10 mins on 1%
20 mins on 0%
[ yeah. The first microwave we ever owned had power percentages, and 1% was just barely warm, and 0% was essentially a timer, no heat at all. But no microwave I've encountered since then works that way. So, 30 mins, no timer - this whole thing creates a nice steamy place for the bread to rise.]

Knead. Let sit on [heating] oven until risen again in pans. Bake at 350 F, 30 mins. [I've got one loaf in a pan, and one not - to go with soup tonight. I'll update with a report on how the baking goes.]

After the first rise

Working on the second rise