Beginner Bread

BEGINNER BREAD

TL;DR: Anxious millennial tackles bread making and produces a basic white loaf. She now has one of the skills expected of a pioneer middle schooler.

Here’s the recipe I used, from MyRecipes.com: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/simple-white-bread

Lately, the trend in my life seems to be one step forward, two steps back. Not only do I find myself currently unemployed and working on a career change but also my boyfriend and I have decided that our summer weight loss would start, during summer. Now that I have the time and energy to undertake such a task I went to a safe place, the kitchen, recipe app queued up, to try and make “simple white bread”. After searching for the most basic and foolproof of bread recipes and a couple “how to knead bread” youtube videos, I began.

Right off the bat I realize that warm water (100 to 110 degrees F) is not what my kettle makes. A swish of the thermometer revealed that I had accidentally made 188 degree water and was well on my way to yeast tea. While my yeast and sugar met for the first time, I fluttered about the kitchen, dipping ice cubes in and out of the water until it reached the desired temperature.

Thanks to my newly acquired youtube knowledge, I knew the four steps needed to successfully knead bread, in theory. First, prep your workstation with flour. Learn from my mistakes, don’t use a small wooden cutting board that slips and slides all over the place. Second, scoop out the still-wet ish dough onto your surface. Third, fold the side furthest away from you, towards you. Fourth, turn the dough 90 degrees and then fold the new side furthest away from you towards you. Repeat step four until your dough is elastic and smooth. If this description doesn’t seem super useful, I strongly suggest looking through youtube for a couple videos, it really helps to see the technique plus it gives you an idea of what your dough should look like at the end.

Now, the waiting. Start the first rise by greasing a bowl (not metal), swishing around the dough to cover lightly with the grease and tuck it into a round blob. Leave it in the bowl in a warm (80+ degrees) non-drafty area for as long as your recipe states. Mine said 45 minutes. I also covered my bowl in saran wrap. When you return it should be at least doubled in size.

Proofing is a process and my recipe had a long one. After the first rise, I punched it to let air out, then covered it back up for 30 min. More. After that, I repeated the punching, letting it rest for 10 minutes while I prepped a clean floured surface (which is now the counter after my cutting board slip n’ slide) and greased my loaf pan with cooking spray. When the 10 min were up, I rolled the dough out onto the surface and used the rolling pin to roll out what more or less looked like a rectangle. Then you take that rectangle and start rolling it up into a pseudo tube, tucking in the ends and placing it seam down in your loaf pan so it kinda looks like a misshapen log. Just one more rise! This time for 30 minutes in the loaf pan, which I covered with a dish towel instead of saran wrap because I saw it on a youtube video. When you come back, the dough should’ve doubled in size once more.

Now onto the baking part. First, you brush the top of the loaf with a beaten egg, gently so it doesn’t deflate. You only use up a little bit of egg for this so I plastic wrapped the rest of the egg and put it in the fridge, I figured a little essence of bread wouldn’t harm its ability to scramble. My recipe specifies two steps for the baking process. First, you preheat the oven to 425 F and put it in for 12 minutes. Then, without taking the bread out, you turn the temp down to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow upon tapping.

Pulling that delicious smelling pan out of the oven was the best part. It’s a small achievement but i’ll take it! It’s a little denser than I would’ve liked in the middle but it is still the best bread batch I’ve ever produced. Here’s to the little victories and acquiring the skills expected of a pioneer middle schooler.

TL;DR: Anxious millennial tackles bread making and produces a basic white loaf. She now has one of the skills expected of a pioneer middle schooler.

Here’s the recipe I used, from MyRecipes.com: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/simple-white-bread

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°), divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup warm water, flour, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).

  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

  4. Uncover dough, and punch dough down. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Uncover dough; punch dough down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, in an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

  5. Preheat oven to 425°.

  6. Uncover dough; gently brush with egg. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove bread from oven); bake an additional 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

    *Note: I baked this on a hot and humid Florida day YMMV in different weather scenarios.

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