Saturday, April 2, 2016

My White Bread Recipe

I'm not a connoisseur of bread or bakery items.  I'm a utilitarian.  I make bread for toast, sandwiches and other uses to serve a family.  Wheat, Rye and specialty/gourmet breads are fine, but I bake family bread similar to American store bought white bread.  I've done the specialty loaves with exotic spices and herbs, cheeses and nuts, but I still come back to the trusted standard of simple ingredients.

If I were to bake my loaf from scratch, by hand in an oven or on a hearth I would still use the same recipe and order of ingredients because it has worked for centuries.

Back in about 1995 I purchased a ZojiRushi bread maker because it was "top of the line" by Consumer Reports at the time.  I have been using that same bread maker ever since, even though it makes vertical loaves and not the standard horizontal to simulate a loaf of store bought bread.  It is one of my top 10 purchases over my lifetime I'd dare to say

I use a balance (scale) when I can because of simplicity.  Flour is easier to measure by the gram, salt is easier to measure by the teaspoon.  I'll give both measurements and you can choose.  If you use strictly measuring cups and spoons you'll be fine, strictly a scale and you'll also be fine.  Use both and you'll save some time.  (I'm a poet and don't know it.)

Here is my recipe for Basic White Bread.

With the bread maker pan on the balance (scale) press Zero or Tare between ingredients.  Add them IN THIS ORDER.

  • 1 1/3 cups water (320 mL or grams)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar (46 g) - sucrose for the yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. dried milk (8 g) which provides lactose for the yeast, plus lubricant.
  • 2 tsp. salt (11 g) - provides seasoning
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil (35 g) - I use veggie oil.  The important thing is oil provides lubrication in the process. Oils have less fat than butter, and are a better lubricant.
  • 4 1/4 cups of flour(544 g), a discussion item, but - I prefer Gold Medal Unbleached Bread flour, but frankly I will use anything in my cabinet.  I mix flours if I have to, rather than take a trip to the store.
  • Yeast - add 2 tsp or 1 packet of active dry yeast (6 g) to the top of the pile. - Check the date for expiration.
Place the pan in the bread maker, set the mode to Quick Bread  and press Start. Walk away for 4 hours - go somewhere. One note of caution here.  If I do this before I go to bed the bread machine keeps me up all night with the aroma more than the sound.  I have to bake my bread on the weekends or earlier in the day.

I add the ingredients in this order to keep the liquids separate from the solids as long as possible, and the yeast separate from everything else as long as possible.  This insures the yeast is not affected from contact from too hot or cold water, or die because it contacts the salt.

In about 4 hours you'll have an edible, tasty, utilitarian loaf of bread that is delicious fresh or for sandwiches this week.

My last batch went moldy after a week kept on the kitchen counter-top, because there are no preservatives in this bread.   We ate most and gave the rest to our backyard birds.

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