April 2, 2011

White Butter Bread

Do you think it is difficult to make bread?  Have you ever tried?  Maybe you have and it hasn't worked out, I know I've been there for sure.  Luckily bread that doesn't turn out still tastes good, and is useful in a number of other applications, like bread pudding or croutons.  Bread is a learning process, it's ever evolving.  It can be time consuming (up to a few days) or it can be SO easy, like my soda bread or this no-knead bread I've been known to make, both of which can be made in about an hour.  Since I started baking 3 years ago I've come along way, and that includes bread making.  Now while I don't make all our breads, and some seem to be more trouble than their worth, I almost always have some of mine sliced up in the freezer.

One day when I have a nice kitchen with some natural light I'd like to show you a step-by-step guide because I've found that pictures to go along with words help tremendously.  I'll leave you with this white butter bread recipe because I do believe with a little bit of confidence and practice, anyone could make this.

White Butter Bread

Makes 1 loaf of bread, can easily be doubled

2 1/4 tsp (1 package) dry active yeast (important to use this type of yeast)
1/3 c warm water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c warm water
480-600g (4-5 c) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp melted butter, for tops

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast with 1/3 c warm water.  Be sure that the water is actually warm, not hot.  If the water is to warm it will kill your yeast, but if it is not hot enough the yeast will not be activated.  The temperature feels slightly warmer than room temperature on the inside of your wrist.  With a thermometer the temperature should be around 95-110 degrees F.  Mix the water and yeast and let the yeast bloom for at least 5 minutes.  If the yeast does not bloom your bread will not rise, all you are looking for is a little bit of movement, bubbles or change in the water.

Add the sugar, salt, butter and additional warm water (same temperature as before) mix gently to combine.

Slowly add about 2.5 cups of flour to the batter, mixing with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Add remaining 2 cups (I used whole wheat here) of flour, mixing.  

Place the bowl in the stand and using the dough hook knead for 10 minutes.  You need to watch the dough, adding flour by the spoonful until it comes off the sides and is not to wet.  You can alternatively knead the dough by hand.

While the dough is kneading, oil a large bowl and a 9 inch loaf pan.  Set aside.  Once the dough is ready transfer it to the large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let rise for an hour in a warm place until doubled in size.

After an hour punch the dough down and place on counter top.  With a rolling pin roll into a 12 inch square with even thickness.  Slowly roll the dough up tightly sealing the seams firmly.  Tuck the ends of the dough under the bread and place into prepared loaf pan.  Cover the loaves again with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

With the rack in the lowest position in the oven, preheat to 425 F.  Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then cover the top with aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the oven and place on a wire rack.  While it is still hot brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter.  Let cool completely before digging in.

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