Monday, February 9, 2009

white sandwich bread

A couple of weeks ago, Bakers' Banter (the KAF blog) posted about homemade white bread. As much as I love all kinds of bread, I am still a sucker for plain ol' white bread, and the pictures of toast and grilled cheese were unbelievably appealing. (As a kid, we always clamored for white bread and my mom would alternate one loaf of white with one of whole wheat. I always thought the whole wheat had "pits," and I'd like to say I've grown out of it.) Unfortunately, the recipe required a pain de mie pan, which is like a square loaf pan with a slide-on lid. I don't have one of those, and baking expert PJ Hamel thought the pain de mie recipe would not work without the pan. She directed me to their standard white sandwich bread recipe.

The process was really easy, but I'm not convinced I let it rise quite enough. Sure enough, the sidebar on the recipe page gives a great baking tip about rise times. It says the time guidelines are just a rough estimate. It's more important to let the dough develop to the appropriate point, following the recipe's instructions. So if it says, "let rise until doubled, about an hour," and it's not doubled after 60 minutes, you're supposed to hang on until it's doubled. I think I jumped the gun just a little, and I wonder if that's why my bread dipped in the middle. (You'll see in a minute.)

Anyway, it was a nice, mild, soft bread. I liked how easily it sliced - into great, superthin, sandwich slices. Day one, I liked the taste, but the loaf lasted a few days and I thought it sort of started to taste yeasty. I wonder if that could've been as a result of the dough not developing fully? Or maybe that's just how this bread tastes. Or maybe I didn't notice on the first day because I was too excited about fresh, warm bread and butter. Either way, it was certainly edible and it held up nicely in the fridge for a few days until we ate it all.

I don't think I would make this particular recipe again. It was pretty time-intensive (though not labor-intenvise) given the result. I also spent about an extra $10 on nonfat dry milk and mashed potato flakes, which is fine if I can find another recipe that uses those. Either way, I am not giving up on bread. I'd like to experiment more with my 5-minute-a-day artisan bread recipes, try ciabatta, play with focaccia again... and before it gets too hot! Stay tuned for more.

(Oh, and as for the recent lack of posts, I'll chalk it up to traveling and a wicked stomach virus. Ick.)

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