Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Amazing Shape-Changing Bread

From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Makes 1 delicious 9” x 5” loaf


for the bread dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast)
1 ¼ cups warm milk (no hotter than 115ºF)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 ¼ cups unbleached allpurpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To finish
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Small bowl
Large bowl
Wooden spoon
Bench scraper
9 by 5-inch loaf pan, lightly buttered or sprayed with pan spray
Pastry brush

1. Proof the yeast
• Wake up the yeast by whisking it into ¼ cup warm (not hot) milk in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and set the bowl aside for 8 to 10 minutes, until it looks foamy (see page 9).
• If the yeast isn’t foamy after 15 minutes (it didn’t wake up), start over with a new package.

2. Mix the dough
• Put the flour and salt in the large bowl and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of warm milk and the melted butter. Stir well with the wooden spoon until you get big, shaggy clumps of dough and it all starts to stick together.

3. Knead the dough
• Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface (don’t put too much, because you can always add more later). Dip your hands in flour and start kneading the dough (see page 12). It will take about 10 minutes of kneading until you get a smooth, springy dough.
• Sprinkle a little more flour on the table and on top if the dough feels very sticky. It should feel tacky, like tape, but not sticky and gooey. A metal bench scraper is handy to scrape up any bits of dough that are stuck to the table, and to help you move the dough around.

4. Let the dough rise
• Wash out the large bowl and rub the inside with a thin layer of vegetable oil (or use pan spray). Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl. Lightly rub or spray the top of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it aside and let the dough rise until it is twice as big, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Punch down and shape the dough
• Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table. Press down firmly to flatten the dough and pop the air bubbles in the dough. Don’t knead or it will get too springy to shape.
• To shape the dough into a loaf, gently pull the flattened dough into a 7 by 10-inch rectangle.

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