I’m not sure why this seems to becoming a thing; but it has happened again, I am not getting the time to sit down and type out my blog post until the weekend…sigh… So here I am on Saturday morning, watching Animal Planet, sipping on my coffee out of my giant fairy mug, and thinking about all of went on during the week and writing….
Today’s recipe is called Rich White Bread. As I was looking at the recipe and preparing my workspace for the day’s baking, I kept seeing things popping up about all that bullshit about, “White Lives Matter”. I’m not a political person, but I do believe in right being right and wrong being wrong and that there is a huge gap in between that is very grey. But I don’t care how you slice it, racism is just plain wrong. But this stuff just struck a chord with me and made me really mad and I wanted…no kneaded to work this all out of my system with some good old fashioned baking therapy.
So here I am, in my kitchen, with this bread recipe called, “Rich White Bread”, and me thinking about how wrong all the racism stuff is these days and I have THIS! as a recipe to work on for the week…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? So as to not seem like a racist white bread baker, I decided, then and there, that I was going to bake non-racial white bread this week. And to take out all my frustrations on the dough. So this is how this week’s white bread became Irish-American White bread and Multi-national American White bread (I will explain how they got to be these colors later on).
Now, the recipe says that it makes superlative toast, so I will explain why it feels like it can make this claim. It is all because of the eggs. The addition of eggs to a bread mixture, makes the dough more dense and tougher…as in it will not crumble easily. So today, to do something a little differently, I’m going to do a step-by-step photo enriched blog on how to make, “Rich White Bread”.
The first step is to gather up all your ingredients and equipment (I realized after I took the picture that I forgot to get out my 2 cup glass measuring cup). Check over all the ingredients in your recipe to make sure you have everything out you are going to need right on the counter with you; this includes measuring cups and spoons, bowls, pans, tools for stirring and mixing, etc. and of course the food ingredients. Tip: As you use an ingredient, put it away. This helps to avoid the confusion, that can happen, if you just leave them on the counter with everything else. If put away after uses, you know for sure that ingredient has been put in the recipe.
Step 1 – Scald the milk. Before I start heating the milk on a medium heat (on my stove it is at 5), I add the sugar, salt and lard (solid shortening or unsalted butter). Stir to combine the sugar and salt with the milk. As the milk heats up, stir occasionally; this helps to melt the solid fat faster. Once bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, take off the heat and stir until all the lard is melted and combined with the milk. To cool the milk down faster, put the pan straight into the freezer; check in about 5 minutes to see if it is cooled enough to use. It can be as warm as 120 f and still be fine to use. Do not let it get below 110 f or it may not be warm enough to activate the yeast. Too hot will kill the yeast and too cold will not activate the yeast; either way, you will end up with a heavy brick instead of a nice light and fluffy loaf of bread.
Step 2 – Put warm water (110 to 115 f) in a 2 cup glass measuring cup, if you have one, plastic also works or a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir until all the yeast is dissolved. Scrap as much of the yeast granules off the side as possible. Note: To test temperature of the water, stick your tender underside of your wrist under the running water and adjust the temperature until it feels very warm, but not hot, on your wrist…It is just like checking the temperature of a baby’s bottle.
Step 3 – In a large, non plastic bowl (the recipe does not mention this part), add milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs and 2 3/4 cups of flour. Beat with a whisk until well combined. Batter will be smooth and satiny; no visible lumps.
Step 4 – Start with adding a little flour at a time. I find that adding 1/2 a cup of flour at a time makes it easiest to get all the flour mixed into the dough. Switch over to a sturdy wooden spoon, and continue to stir in the flour with the wooden spoon from the first addition of flour onward. (As you can see from the pictures, I did not do this. This is how I know to tell y’all to do it. I make the mistakes so you won’t have to. It is a do as I say, not as I do, sort of thing lol. What happened when I did this with the whisk, is that I had to scrap a thick, sticky dough out of the whisk; which was a pain in the ass.
This is what your dough will look like after the addition of 1 cup of flour. This is what I had to scrape off the whisk and put back into the bowl. Now keep adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time; making sure to fully combine the flour with the forming dough. Once the dough is leaving the sides of the dough and not sticking to the wooden spoon, much, sprinkle another 1/2 cup of flour on the top of the dough and switch over to kneading on a clean, lightly floured surface, or do as I do and use a big ol’ stand mixer, like my Thor.
When your dough looks like this, it is time to switch over to kneading the dough.
Step 5 — Cover dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. This helps to let the glutens in the dough start to form. Kneading the bread is used to help pull and stretch the gluten strands so that the bread will hold together and not just crumble to pieces when cooled and sliced.
Step 6 – Kneading the dough. I did find out when making this recipe that it firms up quickly. So if you are kneading by hand, this one shouldn’t kill your wrists while working to become smooth and elastic. But like I said in the first post, my left wrist is damaged from many years of sports and being very active, so I do very little kneading by hand. Like I mentioned above, you can either knead by hand or use an electric stand mixer with dough hooks. You could use an electric hand mixer with dough hooks, if the mixer is powerful enough, but it is not recommended. Note: Never use regular mixing beaters to knead the bread. They will tear the dough and rip apart the gluten strands, which will keep the dough from rising properly.
Step 7 – Let the dough rise. Knead and roll the dough into a ball. Try and make it as seamless as you can. Put the rounded dough into a greased non plastic bowl, turn dough over to expose the greased side. Cover and set in a warm, draft free place to rise. (In the winter, I will rise the bread in the oven. I just turn the temperature to 350 f for ONLY 1 minute then turn off the oven. You want to rise the bread in a warm place, not bake it.) Let dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hour or until dough is double in size. (see above picture)
Step 8 – Punch down dough. Yup, you are to actually PUNCH the dough. This is one of the reasons why bread making is such a good therapy…you get to punch things and not hurt yourself or get into trouble lol. Cover and let rise again for about 1 hour; until dough is doubled in size. Punch dough down again and take out of bowl and put onto a lightly floured surface.
Step 9 – Divide dough into 2 equal portions (I’m OCD so I actually weigh out the dough ball and divide into 2 equally weighed portions). Note: Always CUT your dough with a knife or other sharp object. If you pull the dough you will be breaking the gluten strands in the dough and it will not rise properly. Knead your dough and while doing this, form it into a loaf shape. Place it in a lightly greased loaf pan. I use pans that are smaller than the ones mentioned in the recipe, because I like my loafs to be tall and more narrowed, not wide and more flat. The choice is yours. You can even use mini loaf pans; you will just have to divide your dough into more portions.
It was when I was at this step, that I was so annoyed by an article I had just read on the interwebs, that I just had to use my bread making therapy to make me feel better, by getting some of those frustrated feelings out of my system. As I was in a vent, sadly, there no pictures of this process, but I will explain what I did and then later post and example, with pictures for y’all.
I grabbed my food coloring from the cabinet and pulled out 4 colors that were appealing to me. You can use as many or as few colors as you like. I took one of the divided portions of dough and divided that portion into 4 equal portions. I took 1 of the small balls and flattened it out; leaving a rim around it. I then poured in an amount of food coloring onto the dough; just enough but not so much that it just gushed out all over the counter. I then began to knead the dough to mix in the food coloring. I kept kneading and adding food coloring until I had the dough fully and evenly coated in the color I wanted. I then set it aside and repeated the process for the other 3 balls of dough. Once I had all 4 balls of dough colored to my satisfaction, I started to knead them together. I started with 2 balls and kneaded the doughs together a few times and then added another color, then kneaded a little, then added the last color. I kneaded the dough until the colors were combined to my satisfaction, and then I formed the dough into a loaf shape and put into a greased pan.
I have seen and read about this process many times, but I will have to admit, this is the first time I had tried out the technique for myself.
Step 10 – Cover the dough and set in a warm, draft free place and let rise for about an hour; until it reaches the top of the pan sides, fills the corners of the pan and the top is rounded above the top of the pan. (See next picture)
Step 11 – Baking the bread. This is what your bread should look like when it is ready to bake. Bake at 400 f for 30 to 40 minutes. My oven only takes 30 minutes, so start on the low side and add time if needed. You don’t want to burn your bread tops…unless you like it that way…. When fully baked the bread will be lightly brown on top and will make a hollow sound when knocked on the top (be careful when testing it so you don’t burn your hands).
This is my Irish-American White Bread
Step 12 – Let the bread cool. Immediately take bread out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Slice with a bread knife. Butter. Enjoy the fruits…er….breads of your labors.
This is my Multi-National American White Bread
So there you have it, Rich White Bread. Do let it ever be said of me that I’m a racist white bread baker…
As always, here is your link to this weeks bread recipe….
Stay tuned for next weeks recipe, “Zucchini Marmalade”. I haven’t tried this one yet, so we shall see what this one is all about next week.
Have a Sunshiny day, even when there are clouds in the sky. <|:,)