Post by dirtdiva on Nov 20, 2020 3:49:50 GMT 10
My Basic Bread
3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
Proofing the yeast: In a heat safe bowl add 1 Tablespoon yeast (1 packet) and 1/4 cup sugar, take a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and add 3 cups water. Put in microwave and heat to 100 degrees. Use a thermometer. Add hot water to sugar and yeast mixture and walk away. ( If water is too hot it will kill yeast). In a few minutes you will start to see a foam on the top of your yeast. As a few more minutes lapses your foam on top will get thicker meaning that your yeast is alive and growing. This is called blooming or proofing your yeast.
Now add your first 2 cups of flour and your salt. I am just using an all purpose flour. Stir until smooth. Add 2 more cups flour (4 total) you see that your dough is starting to thicken and pull away from sides of bowl. Add 1 more cup and you see a dough form. You can no longer stir with spoon so use those hands and mix.
Keep adding flour until you get a good dough that is not sticky but do not add too much flour. Although the recipe calls for 7 cups I only used about 6 cups adding a small amount at the time at the end. Now knead that dough. I set my oven timer for 6 minutes and kneaded until the timer went off. As my mother used to say "It builds the bosoms " : ) Now let your dough rest and take a large oven safe bowl and put a dab of olive oil in the bottom (about the size of a quarter) and grease the bowl good. Put dough in bowl and rotate dough and then turn over to get the oil on the outside of the dough.
Now take a clean dish towel and wet it. Ring out until just damp and place over the bowl of dough and set in the cold oven. Place a casserole dish beneath it and fill with boiling water that I have heated to boiling in the microwave.
Set the oven timer for 1 hour and walk away. The heat and moisture from the boiling water help make a warm moist atmosphere for the dough to rise. This is your first rise. With lightly floured hands knead dough down again to release all the air pockets. Now split the dough into three equal sections. Flatten one and roll with lightly floured hands on a lightly floured surface. This is the seam of the dough where you rolled it. That will be placed on bottom of the pan. Basically you are shaping your dough like french bread baguettes.
Now take two of these shaped dough loaves and place in french bread pans. Remember they will be larger so allow room to grow. The pans can be sprayed with non stick spray or greased with butter or shortening.
Take the remaining third and place in a greased or sprayed loaf pan. I like glass so I can see when the crust is done
Place dough back in cold oven and replace again with fresh boiling water and close door. Set timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes your loaves should be almost doubled in size. Remove all loaves from oven and place small loaf to side to continue rising. It will take longer. Preheat oven to 350 leaving water pan in oven.
While oven is preheating mix 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon milk in small bowl
Now brush loaves with egg milk mixture
Place loaves back in preheated 350 oven with water pan in bottom.
Bake for 35 minutes or until loaves tapped sound hollow. Remove from oven and set on rack to cool slightly before removing from pans. Brush warm crusts with melted butter.
Take remaining loaf and brush egg milk mixture on top and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until brown. You may have to cover loosely with foil to allow bottom to brown and the top not to over brown.
You want the bottom of your loaf to be slightly brown also and sound hollow when tapped. Let cool before trying to remove from pan. Brush crusts with melted butter.
Allow bread to cool completely before attempting to slice. Best way to slice bread is with an electric knife. My husband slices my bread with his electric fish filet knife