Monday, March 21, 2011

BEST bread EVER

Sometimes, even with years and years and loaves and loaves of experience, a baker has an 'on' day. Yesterday was mine.

No, I don't have a photo: seriously, this was delicious bread. All gone.... 

Here's the recipe I used:

2cups hot tap water
1/2 tbsp dry yeast
1/4 cup 10% cream
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup BROWN sugar
2 eggs
4 cups of unbleached flour to start
You can also add ground flax - 1/2 to 3/4 cups. 

Beat all this with electric beaters for 3 - 4 minutes. The dough will climb up your beaters but don't worry; it won't get you....

Add in 2 - 3 cups more flour. When the dough is too stiff to be stirred with a fork, dump it out onto a floured surface and kneed it, adding in flour until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and is still very slightly sticky.

Return dough to the bowl. Let rise until double - about an hour - covered with a tea towel.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Kneed 2 - 3 minutes to extract as many air bubbles as possible. 

Divide into two equal-sized parts; kneed each into a loaf-shaped log and put each into a lightly-greased loaf pan. Let rise until double - 45 - 55 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Bake loaves 23-25 minutes until golden brown. Loaves are done when they are a beautiful colour and when they sound hollow when tapped with the handle of a wooden spoon. Do not over-cook.

Remove from oven and let sit five minutes to cool down. GENTLY turn the loaves out onto a clean tea-towel. If you won't eat them within 24 hours freeze in large freezer bags to maintain that just-baked freshness.

NOTE: Safeway in my community sold me 1 lb dry yeast - the stuff they use in their bakery - for about $1.50.  I don't know whether the bakery staff was supposed to sell me yeast like that, given there's tons of it on their shelves, pre-packaged and four times the cost - but they did. Never hurts to ask. 

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