Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Today was a good day. We woke up to a fresh layer of snow (6 inches!), schools closed across the city and the hubby decided to stay home & play too! I, not surprisingly, spent the bulk of the morning in the kitchen working some magick in the kitchen.
Bread. The very word can make your mouth water. The aroma of fresh baking bread is quite possibly the best aroma ever.
This simple bread recipe produces great results: tall loaves, crusty brown and light as air. Try this bread - you and the lucky folks that get to enjoy it will be agree: store bought bread with its high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils (HFCS and PHO's)just aren't worth the health risks or the $3 a loaf price tag. Homemade bread is comfort at its finest and the perfect thing for a snowy day.
makes 1 loaf
4 c King Arthur Bread flour
4 t white sugar (divided)
2 1/4 t yeast (1 packet)
2 T butter diced
1 1/2 t kosher salt (use 3/4 T of table salt if that's all you have)
2 c warm (110*) water
Proof yeast with 1 t sugar & 1/2 c warm water. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl of stand mixer. Once yeast has bloomed add it along with 1 1/2 c water. Knead dough in KitchenAid with dough hook. Add more water (about 1/4 c to 1/2 c depending on conditions) until all flour is incorporated & dough forms a ball. Knead on medium speed for 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a medium bowl. Form a ball with dough, toss in oil in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap & set aside in a warm spot (the kitchen counter is fine, if drafty cover with a towel) until doubled in size.
Once doubled remove dough from bowl. Knead by hand on counter until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a loaf shape. Place in a sprayed loaf pan, cover loosly with plastic wrap and allow bread to double in size again.
Once bread has doubled, about 2-3 inches over top of loaf pan, remove plastic wrap and place in a preheated 350* oven.
Spray (or use pastry brush) bread with water every 10 min while baking. This helps the browning and produces a nice thick crusty crust. Believe me, water is all it takes!
Bake about 40-50 min or until internal temp reaches 212*. Allow to cool until you can handle bread then remove pan & allow to cool on a cooking rack. Slice & enjoy!