Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bread Baker's Apprentice White Bread - Variation 1

As my search for the best plain white bread continues, this week I baked The Bread Baker's Apprentice white bread, variation 1, since it was closest to the other recipes I've used. It is a delicious bread and was relatively quick to put together.

First you put the dry ingredients into the mixer's bowl: flour, salt, powdered milk, sugar and instant yeast. Then you Mix the egg, butter and water together and pour them into the dry ingredients. The mixture comes together quickly - unlike recipes where you first soften the yeast in warm water.

Within a short time, the dough looked like this. I switched to my dough hook and kneaded it in the machine for 6 minutes. Then I kneaded it on the counter for a few minutes more. I did have to add a little flour to create a dough that wasn't too sticky to handle.

The recipe indicates that the dough should rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. It's warm in Atlanta and warm in my house, so the dough had doubled in an hour. I then shaped it into loaves and it rose for another hour.

He says to slash the tops of the loaves and fill the slash with olive oil, which I did.

I preheated the oven to 350 and as I headed to the oven with the two risen loaves, would you believe that I dropped one of the pans? It landed on its side and the rise sank. I put the first loaf into the oven. I set the second loaf back on the counter to rise back to its former glory. That happened in about 30 minutes, at which point I put it into the oven as well.

Here's what the loaves looked like straight out of the oven. Below you can see the crumb in a beautiful slice of this bread.

This recipe has no honey in it so it lacks some of the sweet flavor of the previous three loaves. However as a sandwich bread, it will be the perfect vehicle for any type of filling. Also it made great "Toad in the hole" for me for breakfast this morning!

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