Monday, January 19, 2009

White Bread 101

This past week I have been making this bread nonstop, even making it into rolls for yesterday's dinner. This comes from page. 198 in The King Arthur Flour Baking Companion.

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (but I used bread flour)
2 t. instant yeast (if using regular active yeast, then dissolve yeast in some water first)
1-1/4 t. salt
3 T. sugar
4 T. butter
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup potato flakes
1-1/8 cups lukewarm water

Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together---by had, mixer or bread machine--until you've made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water as needed; but remember, the more flour you add while you're kneading, the heavier and drier your final loaf will be. Cover and let the dough rise about 1 hour until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and shape it into an 8" log. Transfer the log to a lightly greased 8.5x4.5" loaf pan, cover the pan and let the bread rise until the outer edge has risen about 1" over the rim of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover the pan and bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10-15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.

Remove the bread from the oven, take it out of the pan, and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. After 15 minutes, brush it with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft crust.

Use the above recipe but for ease in rolling, you might want to add 3 T. of dough relaxer ( I used dough enhancer) to the dough along with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Choose the shape you want to create, divide the dough into 16 pieces, and shape.

After shaping, let the rolls rise until puffy and almost double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown with an internal temperature of 190 degrees.

Finished rolls can be brushed with butter for a delicious soft crust; a double coating of butter for a soft, satiny crust, or lightly dusted with flour, if you prefer.

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