On Baking Bread

Anne and I didn’t get engaged with rings. Instead, we exchanged meaningful gifts with one another so that we could choose our rings together. I gave Anne a genealogy chart of both of our families dating back to the mid-1800s, and Anne gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer–a symbol of ingredients mixing and coming together to form something greater than themselves.

(Here’s me and “Pistachio.”)

Over the weekend, I decided to give my new dough hook a try. I’ve always wanted to bake bread from scratch, and what better time than now? The KitchenAid came with a booklet of staple recipes, this being one of them. I gathered the few ingredients and set out on a bread making quest. Our apartment smelled like a bakery, and I can officially say that I am “hooked” on baking bread. The loaves are soft and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Brushing the pans and top of the dough with olive oil gives the baked bread a hint of an olive taste. You might as well be sitting in a restaurant in an Italian piazza.

Rapid Mix Cool Rise White Bread (via KitchenAid)

Active time: 25 minutes | Bake time: 40 minutes | Yields: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups very warm water (120°F to 130°F)

Place 5 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 20 seconds. Gradually, add warm water and mix about 1 1/2 minutes longer.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and a towel [or blanket]. Let rest 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 9 x 14 inches. Starting at a short end, roll the dough tightly. Pinch to seal the seam. Pinch the ends and turn them under. Place the dough, seam side down, in two greased loaf pans. Brush each loaf with olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 12 hours.

When ready to bake, uncover dough carefully. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Puncture any gas bubbles which may have formed. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes until golden. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

from Scissors & Sage

(Fresh and steamy out of the oven)

These ingredients certainly did create something greater than their individual selves. They reacted to one another and the elements surrounding them, changing their chemical makeup to grow and expand into something delicious.

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6 thoughts on “On Baking Bread

  1. I have started making Challah on Fridays and am thrilled to say I can still rely on my “Harvest Gold” Kitchen Aid mixer from the 1970’s! I do love pistachio, though…

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