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Cooking with Mr. V: Bread

Renae

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So it's been awhile since I've done this... sorry been busy and all.

I've also been perfecting the simple, humble art of baking bread at home. I finally think I got it down, cause that last batch I made was... BOOYAH.


Full List of Ingredients:
1 Cup Water
1/2 cup Milk
1 stick Butter
2.5tsp Dry Active Yeast
6 Cups of Bread Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
.5tsp salt
3tbls sugar

You'll also need several non-plastic bowls, and a cleared clean counter top.

Okay here we go:

Set your oven to "warm"

1cup warm water
3tbls of sugar

Mix in a stone bowl if you have one, well, anything BUT plastic.

Add 2.5tsp of Dry Active Yeast, spoon a little warm water on the yeast, get it all wet. I personally use RED STAR, but that's me.

Now, put something in the oven, middle rack like a hotpad to put the bowl of yeast on. Turn the oven OFF.

This is important, if you put the bowl on the metal it will over heat, but by putting that pad down however it keeps it just right. But never leave the oven on warm for more then 2-4 min.

Set timer for 10 minutes and let that bowl sit.

Now, in the mean time, get 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup milk and an egg. Melt the butter then add the milk, mix it up then add the egg. Again, use a non-plastic bowl. Set that on a burner to stay slightly warm while the yeast rises.

I use a plastic bowl for this part, 3 cups of BREAD FLOUR, sifted. Now, my sifter I add 1.5 cups of flour then I add the salt and baking powder... just to mix it all in. Set that aside and get your BIG BOWL for the dough out.

When the Yeast is done, and you'll know if it is by the large bubbly stuff in the bowl. (if you've never seen it, that's the best description... and it's kinda gross really) Pour all the bowl contents into your mixing bowl. Add the butter, egg and milk mix, stir it all together. Now add those three cups of flour. I generally RE-SIFT the flour, but that's me, your call. I mix it all with a nice sturdy wooden spoon.

Add then 3 more cups of flour. IF you find the mix is a bit dry, I always do, get another cup of warm water, not too hot mind you, and add it to the mix slowly. The goal here is just wet enough to NOT be tacky. It took me a few tries to get it right.

Now dump the mix onto your counter space, lightly flour it first so the dough doesn't stick to it of course. Once it's down, clean your mixing bowl, and dry it. Add a cap of Vegetable Oil to the bowl and set it aside.

Start kneading that dough! What does that entail? I just fold it, press it, fold it, press it. Sometimes I stretch it out. Then I ball it up and start over. What you are trying to do is release the gluten in the flour. I timed myself yesterday at 7 minutes of good solid kneading. The bread was my fluffiest yet! Next batch I will try 10 minutes. You have to find where it's JUST enough. Do too little, the bread is stiff and heavy, same if you do it TOO Much. I'm getting better at the kneading times though.

Now, ball that dough up as good as you can, set the Oven to WARM again, and put the bowl in the oven with a wet cloth over it. Set the timer for 3 min. When it goes off, set the timer for 30 min and turn off the oven.

After 30 min, turn the oven on for 2 at warm again. Then another 30 min rising with oven off. At the end of this cycle you'll need whatever you are making the dough into ready. Cookiesheet for rolls, breadpans for bread....
Anyhoots, pull the dough out, punch it down and then separate it. I have only one bread pan ATM so I do one loaf then make the rest into rolls. lightly lighty coat with either egg white wash or oil. Then BACK into the oven to rise.

Now, here is key, PUT SOMETHING UNDER ANY AND ALL PANS! And set that oven on warm for 2-3 min. Then turn it off and let it rise one last time, 30 min.

When that's done, remove the cloth, make sure the rack is at the midway point (I have to lower it to let the dough rise) and then bake it at 350 for 30 min. If you are doing rolls, it's only 15 min.

As soon as the bread is done, dump it out on a plate to cool, do not let it cool in the pan.

Slice, butter and enjoy!
 

samsmart

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Try baking some lemon pepper chicken. The easy:deliciousness ratio is quite high.
 
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