Saturday, October 4, 2008

The First Loaf

For all those who love making bread and all those who wish they could make bread. For all those who always turn out a beautiful loaf and for all those who can’t ever seem to get a loaf to turn out, this recipe is for you.

We live in the high altitude of Colorado and it’s very hard to bake a loaf of bread that doesn’t turn out hard or with a crunchy crust.

I tried this recipe called The First loaf by Bernard Clayton’s book: Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Bread’s.

This is a simple white bread recipe that turns out perfect every time.
My kids and husband love it for sandwiches and toast. I like to take a whole loaf and make the most beautiful and delicious French toast you have ever laid eyes on.

I will never buy another loaf of bread again, and since this recipe freezes well I always have a loaf in my freezer.

Have fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

(Note: I don’t know if its because we are in Colorado and things cook and loose moisture faster or if it’s the recipe but my bread never has to cook the full cook time It usually takes my bread half the cook time.)

(Note: Below I have included his instruction to make by hand or with mixer, his cookbook also offers instructions to make using a food processor.)

The First Loaf

5 to 6 cups all purpose flour, approximately
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
3 tablespoons shortening at room temperature

Baking Pans:
2 medium (8” x 4’) or 3 small (7” x 3”) loaf pans, greased or Teflon

By Hand or Mixer 15min:
In a large mixing bowl measure 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and dry milk. Pour the hot water into the dry ingredients and beat by hand or with mixer flat beater to blend thoroughly. Add the shortening; continue beating. Add 1 cup flour and with a wooden spoon beat 100 vigorous stokes, or for 3 minutes at medium speed in mixer.
If by hand, continue adding flour, ¼ cup at a time, and stirring with a wooden spoon until it becomes a shaggy mass. Work more flour into the dough with your hands if it is sticky.
If by mixer, attach the dough hook and add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until dough forms a soft, elastic ball around the revolving hook.

Kneading 10 min:
If by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin to knead with a strong push-turn-fold motion. Occasionally bring the dough down hard against the work surface with a sharp whack! Do this several times during the process. If the dough continues to be sticky, add light sprinkles of flour.
If using the dough hook, continue to knead for 10 minutes. If the ball of dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add sprinkles of flour. Should the dough try to climb over the protective collar at the top of the hook as it turns, hold it back with the edge of a rubber spatula.
When properly kneaded the dough will be soft and elastic. It can be pulled into a thin sheet when stretched between the hands.
A caution: too much flour will make a hard ball that will behave poorly. Work 1 or 2 teaspoons water into the dough. By the same token, if the dough is wet and slack and difficult to handle, add 1 or 2 tablespoons flour.

First Rising 1 hour:
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap to reatain the moisture, and leave at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Shaping 10 min:
Turn back the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Turn it onto the floured work surface and knead for a moment or so to force out any bubbles. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces with a sharp knife.
Shape each piece into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 2 or 3 minutes. Form a loaf by pressing the ball of dough into a flat oval roughly the length of the backing pan. Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place seam down in the pan.

Second Rising 45 min:
Cover the pans with was or parchment paper and leave until the dough has doubled in volume, about 45 minutes at room tepaerature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees about 20 minutes before baking.

Baking 400 10 min. 350 25-30 min:
Place the loaves in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Midway through baking and again at the end turn the pans end for end so the loaves are uniformly exposed to the heat.
If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50 degrees)
When the loaves are a golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom crust, they are done.

Final Step:
Turn out onto wire racks to cool. If you want a soft, tender crust, brish the hot loaves with melted butter or margarine.
This bread may be frozen for a later presentation – up to 6 months at 0 degrees. Toasts beautifully.

Finally, if this is your first loaf, stand back and admire your creation!

1 comment:

tlj56 said...

Give it a try, it's's so yummy made as French Toast.