Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I've been wanting to start baking my bread again. Store bought whole wheat bread is over priced and isn't that good. I wanted to start baking my bread again, but truthfully have just been too lazy. I don't own a bread machine-I have to do all that kneading by hand.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and purposely didn't buy bread. I was determined to bake this week of light schooling. Today,thanks to Tammy, I found a new bread recipe at the King Arthur Flour website.

Long story short, but my 2 loaves just came out of the oven. We can never wait for it to cool before cutting into it. So...we did. It's yummy! The texture is very nice. I started with their recipe for white bread, it's always a good starting place.

The recipe is good enough that you should try it. They are very thorough with their instructions so even if you've never baked your own bread, you should be okay.

Our freshly sliced loaf.

King Arthur White Sandwich Bread
*my comments are in bold*
1 packet "highly active" active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled. *I needed to use just a bit more water...guess my house is pretty dry.*

1) If you're using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
*What I did- measure out the lesser amount of warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl and let bloom.*

2) Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. *This is when I realized I need the extra water+plus a bit more to make the dough nice and moist-without being sticky.*Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball. *I knead by hand for a full 15 minutes. Lightly flour the table or counter if you have trouble with sticking. Mine was good.*

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

4) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into an 8" log.

5) Transfer the log, smooth side up, to a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap. *I use a very clean dampish tea towel. I then set it in the cold oven with the interior light on to raise.*

6) Allow the bread to rise till it's crested about 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. Again, it may rise more slowly for you; let it rise till it's 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, even if that takes longer than an hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the crust is golden brown, and the interior temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. *I don't have this kind of thermometer. Instead I baked it for 25 minutes and checked it-When you thump it, it should sound hollow. It should also be brown. Mine needed the extra 10-15 minutes.*

8) Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. As soon as it's completely cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap; or in a plastic bag, air pressed and fastened securely at the top.