Favorite Bread Recipe

This is my Lammas bread.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 cups (1 lb, 4 oz / 566 grams) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 Tablespoons instant yeast
  3. 2 Tablespoons honey
  4. 6 Tablespoons oil ( your favorite neutral oil, or melted butter) I personally Like butter
  5. 4 1/2 cups (2 pounds / 908 grams) warm milk (or water), about 85° F
  6. About 8 cups  bread flour  or more all purpose flour (Probably will not use the whole 8 Cups but you might I have during high humidity most likely though it will be more around 6 cups)
  7. 1½ Tablespoons (22 grams) salt

Directions: This recipe produces three loaves.

Mixing:

Proof yeast in milk and honey until nice and frothy.

In a very large bowl, sift the all-purpose flour (I use a wooden spoon for stirring and a really large Glass Bowl). Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the oil and the milk.

Mix well, then continue to stir vigorously, slowly adding 1 cup of the bread flour at a time and stirring it in, until you’ve added 3 to 4 cups of bread flour and have a sticky, shaggy dough; this should take a few minutes.

Resting (Autolyze):

Cover the bowl with oil sprayed plastic wrap or wet damp(not dripping but not too dry) tea towel and let it rest for 20 minutes. (I keep stacks of these in a cabinet drawer and use them constantly all around the kitchen). This rest period is called the autolyze.

Kneading:

Add the salt and 1 more cup of sifted bread flour and stir it in as best you can. Add another cup of bread flour if the dough is still too sticky to knead repeat as needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it with floured hands until the dough is soft and smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Try not to over flour that is the reason I sift the flour just need it to get smooth and elastic no stickiness

As you’re kneading, sprinkle a little more flour at a time as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands or the work surface. You want the dough to be as soft as possible without being sticky; you may not need the entire eight cups of bread flour, or you may need a little extra.

Rising:

Using a Bowl that is twice the size of the dough I oil the dough and the container just enough to coat and allow to rest till double in size (when Container is full). Cover with Plastic wrap or lid if bowl comes with it which mine does.

Set the dough somewhere that is preferably between 70°F and 75°F (this is my oven with the light on) until it has doubled in size, around 90 to 130 Minutes (1 1/2hrs to 2 hrs 10 mins).  May need longer just depends on temp and amount of yeast. I like to leave overnight (this is why only 1 TBSP). Ideally, the dough itself should be between 70°F and 75°F. It’s fine if your dough is cooler; it’ll just take longer to rise and will end up even tastier.

I heat the milk to about 100°F (don’t make it any hotter or you’ll risk killing the yeast). If you keep your flour in the freezer (it’s the best place to store whole grain flours which I would do if I had a bigger Freezer that’s where my dad always kept his), use warmer milk, or let the flour come to room temperature first. It’s easy to check the temperature of your dough and ingredients with an inexpensive thermometer. I use a candy thermometer for Liquids and a Dial thermometer with a pointy end for thicker stuff like bread and meat.

When the dough is ready to be shaped, you should be able to push a floured finger deep into it and leave an indentation that doesn’t spring back.  That means it has extended all it can and is really spongy.

Shaping

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flattening gently with your hands to break up any large air bubbles. Divide the dough into three equal pieces. The easiest way to divide up dough into loaves or rolls is with a stainless steel dough scraper, also called a bench scraper or pastry scraper. I have two,  the metal one from above and a plastic one, and they’re always in constant use. Nothing works better for cleaning up the counter after working with something that is sticky or floury. Which can be quite messy. Can use them like a squeegee and work your way around the mess to pick it all up.

Shape it to loaves to put in bread pans this is a sandwich bread after all. Oil the bread pans and place loaves in pans.  Place pans back in warm spot and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with oil.

Rising Number Two

Allow them to rise until the dough springs back just a little when you gently poke it with a floured finger, about 40 to 60 minutes this could be longer or shorter depending on temp, and altitude.

If you let the loaves rise too long, they may not have enough energy left to rise once they’re in the oven, and they may even collapse. I have over proofed several times just need to find that happy Middle where I don’t cause a blowout but under proofing or collapses with over proofing.

Bake at 375° for 35 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow if tapped (you need to carefully remove a loaf from the pan to check this).

Remove the loaves immediately from the pans and let them cool on a wire rack. The bread will continue to bake inside while it’s cooling, so try to wait at least 40 minutes before cutting into a loaf.

Store at room temperature or freeze in zipper freezer bags. I like to use the 2.5 gallon jumbo zipper food storage bags, which will fit two loaves. Make sure the loaves are completely cooled before sealing in bags. If you have a bread box wrap in a tea towel and place in clean bread box. If it is anything like in my house it will be gone before the next day. Of course now that Lammas I take two loaves out to the garden for the birds and other animals that come into it.

 

 

 

 

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