You Asked For It: white bread recipe
I would like to make bread from scratch and am looking for a recipe for a white bread. Can anyone help?
Marilyn Skiff, St. Petersburg
Diane Stork of Hudson shares a basic white bread recipe that is not difficult to make.
There are a few things worth noting. First, you want the dough to be elastic, not sticky; there is a difference. With patience, it will get to that point during mixing. Using a stand mixer alleviates a lot of kneading. I used a rubber spatula to scrape the dough off the hook periodically. Before turning the dough onto the counter, flour it a bit to eliminate sticking. Don't use too much flour — a sprinkling is fine. The recipe says to let it rise a second time in the loaf pan for 20 minutes or until the dough rises to the top of the pan. I waited an hour and it had not gotten to the top of the pan. It was about three-quarters of the way. I chose to bake it at that point and it was fine. It smelled so good coming out of the oven that I turned it out of the pan as instructed and cooled it briefly. It is delicious warm, slathered with some butter and is equally good toasted.
Diane also offers a variation for cinnamon raisin bread. After the first rise, gently press the dough out into a rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and raisins. Roll up like a jelly roll and pinch the seams closed. Proceed as directed in the recipe.
A request from Ellen
Marilyn also requested a recipe for caraway sourdough rye bread. A reader sent me the recipe but I am having trouble locating rye flour. I've been to three stores with no luck. If anyone has a local source, I would greatly appreciate it. I prefer not to order online in the interest of time.
Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, P.O. Box 1159, Crystal Beach, FL 34681 or email email@example.com. Include your name, city and phone number.
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Basic White Bread
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 package rapid-rise dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 egg whites, divided use, slightly beaten
In a small saucepan, heat the milk with butter over low heat just until the butter melts. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Proof the yeast by adding it to the warm milk and butter. Add the sugar and stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. This indicates the yeast is active. Turn mixer on low and gradually add the flour. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium and add the salt and 1 egg white. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.
Turn the dough onto the work surface and knead for a minute or so by hand. Knead by folding the dough over itself and pushing out with the heel of your hands, not down. Rotate the dough and repeat. The dough is properly kneaded when you can pull it and it stretches without breaking. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stove or in another warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Test the dough by pressing two fingers into it. If indents remain, the dough has risen adequately.
Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. The act of turning out the dough naturally deflates the gas, so there is no need to aggressively punch it down. Handle the dough gently; overworking the gluten at this point will produce a dense loaf that is difficult to shape. To form a loaf, pat the dough into a rectangle, fold the long sides to the middle then fold under the ends. Pinch the seams closed and place in a greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, seam side down. Make sure the dough touches all sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise a second time for 20 minutes or until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a large pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bring 3 cups water to a boil on the stove. Pour the hot water into the preheated pan to create a steam bath for the bread. This will make a crisp crust.
Slash dough down the middle with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape while baking. Brush the top with remaining beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes until crust is golden and internal temperature reads 195 degrees when checked with an instant-read thermometer. The bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Immediately remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a rack.
Makes 1 loaf.
Source: Diane Stork, Hudson