>> Monday, April 19, 2010
Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and are expriencing some great weather this time of year! As for us, I finally caved and turned on the a/c for the first time this year. In April. We're doomed! ;-)
We only need 5 more followers until we can start the giveaway!!! I see that we have 97 Facebook followers and only 95 blog followers, so those of you following us on Facebook need to make sure you follow the blog, too! :)
A year ago, I found a recipe for white bread. And that's the recipe I used for the last year. Until I got my new cookbook, that is. I was extremely excited to see a recipe for sandwich bread in my cookbook! Don't get me wrong, the old white bread recipe is still good, but it's just not good for slicing thinly for sandwiches because it's pretty crumbly. This sandwich bread recipe is AMAZING. And it has a million variations. You can do buttermilk instead of the whole milk. You can make cinnamon raisin bread. You can use whole wheat flour instead of white. You could turn it into all kinds of snazzy types of bread by adding cheese, herbs, etc. I've got several variations I'm going to try, so I'll make sure to post recipes!
This recipe only makes 1 loaf, so I always double it. If you do double it, make sure the bowl you let it rise in has enough room to accommodate a double batch once it's risen. You may want to divide the dough in half and put each half into a separate bowl to rise.
And if you're new here and/or new to bread-making, here are my tips for working with yeast. Making bread can be tricky at first. But I promise you that it gets easier! You just have to keep at it. My loaves when I first started turned out pretty goofy sometimes, but now I have no problem making fantastic bread.
1 cup whole milk, warm
1/3 cup water, warm
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons honey
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
Whisk the milk, water, 3 tablespoons of the butter and honey together in a large measuring cup. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.
Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
Turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it into a 9 inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam-side down in a 9 inch loaf pan. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, about 1 to 1/2 hours.
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Brush the loaf with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Set the loaf pan on the oven rack and place an empty metal loaf pan next to it. Fill the empty loaf pan half full with boiling water. Bake until golden and the center of the bread registers 200 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.