I wrote before about my incompetence with yeast… and the fact that my only successes had been in a bread machine. Then I sort of broke the cycle with this Italian bread. I followed the Joy of Cooking’s instructions step by step, and yielded something yummy.
We already ate some of the rolls (topped with honey butter. YUM!) and I have to say the texture is delightful. I did a good job.
Want to know how I did it? Of course I’ll share.
I basically used the same recipe as my usual sandwich bread, but I doubled it. And didn’t touch the bread machine.
- Proof 4 teaspoons of active dry yeast in 2 cups of 110 degree (Fahrenheit) water with a bunch of honey. This means mix all of that together and wait 10 minutes or so, until it’s frothy.
- Dump it in the mixing bowl.
- Add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 cups of wheat flour.
- Add half a cup of veggie oil.
- Spoon in 2 teaspoons or so of salt.
- Stir/knead until smooth. If you want, you can use the dough hook of your mixer to do this.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in size. I did mine for a bit over an hour, I think.
- Punch down the dough (this releases some CO2 and relaxes the gluten) and shape into whatever bread you want. (I did one loaf in a sprayed loaf pan, some buns, and some bread sticks).
- Let rise again, about an hour or until about doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you want, you can make cuts in the top of your bread… though it’s not necessary.
- Bake until it’s done. This will vary depending on what size/shape bread you made. My smaller breads were finished in about half an hour. The loaf took about 40 minutes.
- Remember to let your loafs cool COMPLETELY before slicing.
I think it would be a lot of fun to dry different additions… maybe adding sunflower seeds to the dough, sprinkling the top of the loaf with raw oats, or topping hamburger buns with sesame seeds. I bet it would also make a great breakfast bread if during the shaping stage, you rolled it up with some cinnamon/sugar/butter inside in a nice swirl.
What do you think?
Bread machines are GREAT but I like that this made a normal-shaped loaf… I was able to get a lot more slices out of it than usual (which also means smaller sandwiches so I might be able to actually eat a whole one… I’ve taken to just eating turkey lunchmeat plain because I never feel hungry enough for a sandwich as huge as our bread usually is. ha!) .
I’m not swearing off the bread machine of course, because honestly… what beats dumping in ingredients and walking away, then coming back later on to freshly-baked bread? But it’s nice to know that my yeast curse seems to have been lifted, and that now other shapes of bread are actually in my menu of options, provided I have a bit of time and patience for it.