Rich White Bread

This bread recipe has been a tremendous success compared to the Thirty-minute White Bread recipe. The first attempt at this recipe went remarkably well, and I have since made two more attempts which have also become increasingly better. For this particular recipe I would say that timing is everything.

Here's my water, dry milk, salt, sugar, and yeast.

Adding the flour.

Adding eggs and butter. It's important that both of these ingredients are about room temp. The initial ingredients were added to very hot water and the flour has only leveled the temp of the batter slightly. The yeast at this point still wants to be quite warm.

After butter and eggs come 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time. I find that after the 2nd cup is added the dough causes the mixer to work a little too hard, yet the dough is still too moist - it needs at least another 1/2 cup. So what I do here it pull the dough out of the mixing bowl, pour that 1/2 cup of flour on the dough, and begin kneading the flour into the dough.

It doesn't look very attractive at this point.

All kneaded up and rolled into a nice ball - we're going to let this rip for about an hour and a half. Time to go to the store, right?

Maybe not so much with the store. I was only gone for an hour...I punched this down and folded it in, flipped, time for second rising. I later learned that the warmer your dough is the faster the yeast multiplies. Though this factoid doesn't mean hotter is better as yeast does have a scalding point at which it cannot survive.

I was very pleased with this second rise.

Time for shaping. This looks kind of funky, but this is what the recipe instructions said to do. I think the seam is meant to get air into the center of the loaf during the baking process, but you also don't want a hollow loaf of bread.

Fold up the seam.

And flip!

Into the pan - let rise again here for about another hour.

okay, so I divided a bit uneven, but I'm still pleased to see this looks like bread. I later bought a kitchen scale to make sure I divide my dough evenly for future loaves.

Time to bake!

Recipe says preheated oven at 400 for 35 minutes. After a couple of tries I now do non-preheated oven at 400 for 35 and it almost comes out over-done. Know your oven and its quirks!

Out of the pans to cool. Beautiful! And it smells great! It's difficult to let this cool before slicing into it and slathering it with butter and honey!

Rich White Bread Recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads 

1 1/2 C hot water (120-130)
1/2 C nonfat dry milk
2 T sugar
2 tsp salt
2 pkg dry yeast
5 1/2 - 6 C bread or AP flour
2 T lard or butter, room temp
2 eggs, room temp

2 9x5 loaf pans

In a mixing bowl combine hot water, milk, sugar, salt, yeast.
Slowly add 3 cups of flour.
Add butter (or lard) and eggs, blend until smooth
Mix in the remaining flour slowly - the dough will be rough and shaggy and should clean the sides of the mixing bowl.
If the dough is too wet, add small quantities of flour slowly until it is the right consistency.

Knead dough with dough hook attachment or by hand for about 8 minutes.
Sprinkle more flour if the dough sticks to the bowl or to your hands. Dough will become smooth and elastic.

Place dough in bowl and pat with buttered fingers to prevent surface from crusting. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Leave at room temp until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Open plastic wrap and punch down dough with fingers. Fold dough toward the center and flip. Cover with plastic and let rise until it's about 1 1/2 times its current size, about 30 minutes.

Knead dough a few times to work out large bubbles. Divide dough in half, shape into balls, and let rest for a few minutes.
Press dough ball into ovals the length of the baking pan and place in the pan.

Cover loaves with wax or parchment paper and leave until the center of the loaf has risen about 1" about the rim of the pan, about 50 minutes.

Preheat oven 400 for about 20 minutes
Bake loaves about 35 minutes until crusts are golden brown.
Midway through baking move pans around in the oven to insure uniform heating


Rich White Bread Baking Tips

The second time I made this bread my first rising only took about an hour and as a result of my actually being home and getting the dough punched down and prepped for its second rising my final product was much taller, lighter bread.

Consider, in theory, that the yeast has a limited amount of fuel to rise (the flour and other ingredients in the dough). If you let it rise too long, you'll not have enough fuel for the bread to rise after the shaping into pan phase. The first and second rise develops the flavor and texture of your bread, while the third rise after shaping into the pan not only acts as the final flavor and texture (crumb) development but also dictates the final shape and height of your loaf.

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