Wednesday, January 5, 2011

White Bread

 I had a sudden urge to make bread yesterday, and I guess it was a good thing, since we had just run out of our store-bought bread. So I set to scouring the internet for a new bread recipe to try and I happened upon a recipe for Julia Child's White Bread at It sounded quite delicious, so I got out my yeast and bread flour and set to work.

Of course, a lot of the instructions in this recipe were, 'put such and such in your electric mixer with the dough hook...'  which in my kitchen translates into, 'put the such and such in your large bowl and get out your elbow grease, cause you're going to need it!'.

Without a electric mixer, this whole process took me about 3 1/2ish hours. But boy, oh boy was it worth it. There really is nothing like hot, fresh bread right out of the oven, spread with sweet cream butter. I had a very hard time being patient enough to take pictures of the loaves before I started devouring them.

After having two sandwiches using the bread, the hubby declared that I did indeed do a 'very good job' baking it!

The most interesting part of the making of this bread was kneading the butter in a tablespoon at a time. Again, if you have an electric mixer, it won't be nearly so fun, for while it was a very greasy process, the smell was..what's the word....rapturous.

So all in all, I am most definitely keeping this recipe, for it one of those recipes that is a lot of work, but is also a very delicious reward for said work. Bon Appetit!

 Julia Child's White Bread (makes 2 loaves)

2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened, plus more for greasing the loaf pans

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let it sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together. (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together). Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
Butter 2 loaf pans. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat.
Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.


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