Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bread Tutorial

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (wrist warm like baby milk)
3 1/2 cups flour (you can use bread flour or regular)
2 teaspoons salt

Combine yeast and water in a bowl (I used my biggest Pyrex bowl) Yeast! You can buy this in packets or a jar. I found that using the packets is kinda nice! Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and whisk until yeast and sugar dissolve. Allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Add 1 3/4 cups flour. Beat with electric mixer (or whisk) for 4 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover and add 1 3/4 cups flour. (Notice the bubbles) Use rubber spatula to incorporate flour until it can be turned out onto work surface.

Turn sloppy goopy dough out onto well floured work surface.

If you want to add any herbs.. now's the time. It's all up to your preference. Rosemary.. mmmm. Garlic.. nom nom. Mix a bunch of em together!

It's your time to shine!

Knead for 8-10 minutes (add flour whenever dough feels sticky) until dough can be formed into a pretty ball like this!

Spray your clean bowl with non-stick pan spray. You can also oil with oil & a paper towel (like doing a cake pan)

Put into bowl "pretty side" down. Flip it over right away!

Cover with same piece of plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free area for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Dough has risen more than double its size

Punch it.. then pull it over on itself twice.

Split dough into the pieces you want to use... I'm doing bread bowls so I have 5 pieces. For french loaves, cut in two even pieces.

For rounds.. roll out into circles.
For french loaves... roll into rectangles.

For rounds fold into the center.
For french loaves... roll into long loaves .. like a pretend jelly roll)

Pinch the folds

Cover with plastic wrap (yep.. same one.. don't be wasteful) and then put a towel over it. Allow to rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours.

Using a sharp knife or razor blade (be careful), score the bread... Xs for rounds or 4 diagonal slashes for loaves.

In the last 1/2 hour.. preheat the oven to 450 degrees!

Brush bread with melted butter (we use margarine from TJs) and this is where I add a little after-flavor. I put some Adobo into the melted margarine for a light flavor. Brush the bread being careful not to get it too drippy. It will make the oven smoke. Reserve the rest of your melty stuff for later! :)

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower and bake for another 25-35 minutes at 375 degrees.. until golden and lovely.

If you are a bread lover you'll know if you're set by the sound the crust makes when you knock on it. If your new at this... it'll sound kind of hollow and the bread won't mush in when you touch it.