Friday, August 12, 2011

James Beard's Basic White Bread

Besides for the foods that are totally off-limits to me, I'm not that big of a picky eater so I knew exactly what I wanted to eat before the fast that was observed earlier this week. Bread. With cream cheese and lox. (I think that's me saying I miss my Brooklyn roots.) I wanted an easy, simple white bread so I looked to James Beard's book on bread and made his Basic White Bread. This is a pretty basic loaf, consisting just of flour, water, yeast and salt. I thought his amount of salt, 1 tbsp was way too much for four cups of flour so I cut it down to 2 which was bordering on salty. So feel free to use anywhere between 1 1/2 and 2. The bread rose fast and because of the lack of white sugar and sugar developed during fermentation, this bread had little color. That was fine because the loaf was delicious warm. It was still good the next day, but best fresh and a bit warm, perfect with my favorite sandwich staples. I made the dough in my mixer but feel free to do it by hand, if you're not feeling lazy. The original recipe says that this should be baked in a 9x5 inch pan but I'm glad I used the 8x4 inch because the dough yield wasn't huge and it didn't fill the bigger pan. I tried. This loaf is off to Yeastspotting

Basic White Bread
adapted from Beard on Bread

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2-2 tsp salt
3 3/4-4 cups flour
1 1/2 c-2c water
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add water slowly to make a shaggy dough. Just enough that all the flour is moistened, don't add it all at once. Allow to rest for five minutes.
Switch to the dough hook and knead about five minutes on medium speed. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
Grease the top of the dough and cover. Set aside to rise until doubled in size. Shape into a sandwich loaf.
Place it in a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan. Set aside to proof until risen about an inch above the rim of the pan.
Here is my proofed loaf. Towards the end of proofing, preheat the oven to 375.
Bake until a thermometer registers 190 about half an hour.
Cool on a wire rack.
Slice and serve.

No comments: