Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Classic White Bread

Here's the recipe Michelle used to make bread last week.  It was awesome!  Maybe it's just because it's been a while since I've made white bread (usually we're using our wheat flour), but maybe she's just an excellent baker!  We're definitely having this again, and I only hope that it turns out as well when I make it.
Classic White Bread

6-7 cups bread flour
(note: we used regular white flour and added 2 tablespoons gluten)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
4 1/2 teaspoons regular (or quick) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups very warm tap water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, if desired

In your KitchenAid bowl (remember this is from her cooking class - we just used our Magic Mill mixer), stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed.  Add warm water.  Beat on medium speed one minute, scraping bowl frequently.  (Our mixer only has one speed now - high.  It worked.)  Stir in enough remaining flour, one cup at a time, to make a soft dough that is easy to handle.

Put on kneading hook and knead about five minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy.  Grease large dinner plate (we used a 10" pie plate to make sure it was oven safe) with shortening.  Place dough on the greased dinner plate, turning to grease all sides.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in proofing oven** 15 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

Grease bottoms and sides of three 8x4" or two 9x5" loaf pans.  Gently deflate dough and divide into thirds.  Flatten each dough portion with hands or rolling pin into an 18x9" rectangle on greased surface.  (PAM is fine.)  Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9" side.  Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.  Fold ends under loaf and place seam side down in pan.  Brush loaves lightly with butter.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 20 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.  (If you have two ovens, you can use one as a proofing oven and the other for baking.)

Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove loaves from pans to wire rack.  Brush with butter and cool.

**Preheat your oven to 275°.  Turn oven off, place a small baking dish filled with boiling water in the bottom, and place dough on center rack to rise.

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