Monday, February 26, 2018

Rosie Makes A Quick Sandwich Loaf.

I make bread.
A lot.
The Hawthornes never buy bread at the store.
I always have homemade bread on hand.

And I make all sorts of breads.

I make baguettes:
 I make ciabatta:

 I make filone:


 I make boules:

 I make "artisinal" breads:

 I make penis bread:

You name it.
I make it.

I like making bread.
Whether I make it by hand and knead it, like I did in the "old days."
Or whether I make it in my Cuisinart (my baguettes) or in my KitchenAid (my ciabatta).
Making bread calms me.
It's a process.
And I can spread out that process all day long.
I'm not tied to exact times.
I can just work with the dough.

Now, I have worked on a "recipe" for a sandwich loaf which can go from mise en place to sur la table in under 3 hours.  Actually, I've made it in 2 hours, but then I'm an over-achiever.  You read that correctly. Two hours!

And you have a wonderfully flavorful, beautifully textured, aromatic, tasty loaf of sandwich bread.
It's perfect for ... well, sandwiches...  but also breakfast toast - cheese toast or cinnamon toast or French toast, and for croutons.  And it's lovely when it comes right out of the oven and I can schmear some softened butter all over it.

Here's my sandwich loaf.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Rosie's Sandwich Loaf 

1 ¼ cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 TB unsalted Plugrá butter, melted (my preferred butter)
2 TB wildflower honey
3 ¼ cups King Arthur unbleached bread flour plus extra for dusting the work surface
1 tsp kosher salt
A little oil for greasing the bowl
Egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 tsp water)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pour in the water.  Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar.  And wait.  For the yeast to proof.  The yeast needs to “prove” it’s alive by eating the sugar (Yeast is hungry!) and producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.  In other words, the mixture will get bubbly and foamy and poofy.  It’s alive!  Pour in melted butter and honey, preferably honey that comes from hives about ½ mile away from you that’s produced by bees who’ve feasted in your garden.  But that’s just me.  Stir in the salt, then slowly and gradually add in the flour with the motor running at low speed.  When all the flour has been added, increase speed to medium high and knead for about 3-5 minutes.  You want the dough to pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a couple of minutes.  The dough should be pliable and elastic.  Pour a little oil in a bowl and place the ball of dough in, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 40 minutes or so, until almost doubled.

 Here’s a Rosie Tip:  Wet a kitchen towel, nuke it for 2 minutes, then place the bowl of dough in the microwave on top of the hot towel and close the door.  The heat and steam from the hot towel will give the dough a little boost in rising. 

After rising, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead again, by hand,  for 2-3 minutes.  Form dough into a tight elongated shape and place, seam-side down, in an oiled 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  Let rise until dough is slightly above level of pan.  (You can use the microwave trick again.)

While the dough is rising, heat oven to 350°.

Gently brush top of dough with egg wash and place in oven.
Bake 7 minutes, then rotate pan halfway.
Bake another 7 minutes, then cover loaf with foil.
Continue baking for 20-25 more minutes.  If you have an instant-read thermometer, internal temperature should be 200° and the crust will be a lovely golden brown.  Remove from oven and leave in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack.

I like to slice while the bread is still warm from the oven and slather on some softened unsalted Plugrá butter, letting it melt into the nooks and crannies of the crumb.  

If you want to go from divine to sublime, squish a few tablespoons of Plugrá butter into a small bowl and stir in a few drops of black truffle oil.  Truffle oil is intense, so go easy on it and taste test.  Once you get the right combination, spread on the warm bread and experience a profound taste sensation.  You may thank me later.

Here are the how-to's:

 Using the dough attachment, combine all ingredients until you get this shaggy mess.

Work by hand a bit until dough all comes together, then place back in a buttered bowl to rise.

Let is rise.

Work again on a lightly floured surface for a minute or so until dough is soft and pliable.

Place in a buttered loaf pan.

Let is rise in a warm place.

Gently brush egg wash over top of loaf.

Let rise and ...

Is that not a beautiful loaf?
Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.

Lovely texture!

The best way to enjoy bread is right out of the oven,
while it's still warm.
You might want to try some unsalted butter
with a few drops of black truffle oil.

No comments: