Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The First Loaf

The temperature is dropping and that means its time for me to start baking again. We've missed homemade bread over the last few months. This recipe is the first in a book called Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I wanted to get the Bread Baker's Apprentice so I could join in on the challenge but the library did not have that book in stock and it was too pricey to buy right now. This first loaf of bread was really tasty. So tasty in fact the family had it all eaten in less than twelve hours. The recipe makes 2 loaves and they can be frozen up to 6 months.

The First Loaf
adapted slightly from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

5-6 cups bread or all purpose flour, approximately
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

In a large mixing bowl measure 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and dry milk. Pour the hot water into the dry ingredients and beat with the batter attachment on your mixer to blend thoroughly. Add the butter; continue beating. Add 1 cup flour and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed. Attach the dough hook and add flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a soft, elastic ball around the revolving hook.

Continue to knead for 10 minutes. If the ball of dough sticks to the side of the bowl, add sprinkles of flour. Should the dough try to climb over the protective collar at the top of the hook as it turns, hold it back with the edge of a rubber spatula.

When properly kneaded the dough will be soft and elastic. It can be pulled into a thin sheet when stretched between the hands.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, tightly covered with plastic wrap to retain the moisture, and leave at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn back the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Turn it onto the floured work surface and knead for a moment or so to force out any bubbles. Divide the dough into 2 pieces with a sharp knife. Shape each piece into a ball and let it rest on the work surface 2-3 minutes. Form a a loaf by pressing the ball of dough into a flat oval roughly the length of the baking pan. Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place seam down in the pan.

Cover the pans with waxed or parchment paper and leave until dough has doubled in volume, about 45 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees about 20 minutes before baking.

Place the loaves in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Midway through baking and again at the end turn the pans end for end so the loaves are uniformly exposed to heat.

When the loaves are a golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom crust, they are done. Turn out on wire racks to cool. If you want a soft, tender crust, brush on the hot loaves butter.

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  1. I'm so sorry that the BBA was not available at your library...you still made a tasty looking loaf of bread!

  2. I just made this bread recipe tonight- OMG delish! Enjoying it with a big pot of clam chower. MMm Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Yes Frieda it was sad not to find the book. I'm number 43 in line so I doubt I'll get the book this year.

    PPC- I'm glad it turned out for you. Enjoy the bread for days to come.


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