Yesterday, my colleague gave me a package of bread flour and some packets of dry yeast. He said he was going to bake bread but he had changed his mind. I decided, well, why not? Baking with yeast is not my favorite thing to do but if I can find an easy bread recipe, I’m making bread this weekend! So I found this recipe for Amish White Bread on allrecipes.com, it looked easy enough so I adapted it here. The result is two rustic bread loaves. I’m calling it
Prep time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
2 cups warm water (110˚F)
2 tablespoons superfine sugar (recommended because it dissolves quicker)
1x 11g packet active dry yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup rice bran oil (can use vegetable oil)plus more for bowl and pans
6 cups (762g) bread flour plus more for flouring the board
First, oil a large bowl and two 8 1/2×4 1/2 inch loaf pans.
Baker’s note: I had 1 x9 and 1 x 8 1/2 in loaf pan. I prefer the look of the loaf in the smaller pan; it’s more compact whereas the other is squat. So though the recipe calls for 9×5 inch pans, I’m recommending the smaller pans.
Heat the water for 1 minute in the microwave. On an instant read thermometer it registered about 118˚F. Let it cool in another large bowl and add the sugar, stirring it with a whisk to dissolve. Then add the yeast and stir. Let the yeast mixture rest on the counter top until a creamy foam covers the surface of the liquid. This will take from 10-20 minutes.
Add the salt and oil. Add the flour 1 cup at a time; I recommend weighing the flour for best results. Stir after each addition. Knead the dough in the bowl until the sides are clean. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times until the dough is smooth. Put the dough into the prepared bowl and turn it to coat. Cover it with a damp cloth and put it in a draft free place to rise, about 1 hour. I preheated the oven to 50˚C then switched it off. Don’t open the oven door until you’re ready to proof the dough in the oven.
After an hour, the dough will have doubled in size. Remove the damp cloth and punch it down. This doesn’t mean to do violence to the dough! Actually, poking it with a finger will achieve the same result. The dough will deflate. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times to incorporate the flour. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough in half. Shape each half into loaves and place in the prepared pans.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes or until they achieve a height of 1 inch over the top of the pans. For me this took 15 minutes. Put the loaves in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. The crust will look light golden brown and may be tough to the touch. However, as it cools, the crust will soften. Cool the loaves the pan for 10 minutes then remove from the pan. Slice and eat! It’s so simple. The crust was chewy but the inside was soft and moist. I loved how it surrendered itself to the butter on each slice, one for me and the other for Andy.