I am always eager to try new bread recipes, or at least new versions of the already tested ones. This morning as I was thinking about my breakfast and what needed to be done today, bread was slowly slipping into my to do list. Having already made many rolls and French baguettes in the past few weeks, I wanted to try something else. Here is my rendition of the crusty white bread, which by the way tastes great with anything (as good bread should) - be it simple butter, some avocado or just your choice of jam.



Ingredients

1 egg
1 egg yolk
warm water
3 cups of all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp butter, diced
vegetable oil, for brushing

Method

1. Lightly beat together the egg and egg yolk in a measuring cup. Stir in enough lukewarm water to make up to 1 1/4 cups. Add sugar and yeast and let it rest.

2. Sift the flour and salt together. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center, pour in the egg/yeast mixture, and stir well with either a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula until the dough begins to come together, then knead with your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 

3. Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl, covering with a plastic bag/wrapper. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

4. Brush a regular size loaf pan with oil. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter, punch down with your fist, and knead for a minute. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as the pan and flatten slightly. Fold it lengthwise into 3 and place into the prepared pan, seam side down. Put the pan into a plastic bag and let it rise for 30 minutes, until the dough has reached the top of the pan.

5. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. Bake the loaf for 15-35 minutes, until it has shrunk from the sides of the pan, is golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

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