My KitchenAid Stand Mixer has kinda become my new best friend. She (Gloria) does so much to help me do some awesome things in my kitchen. Bread used to be an awfully long, exhausting process. Gloria makes the job easy peasy! I throw the ingredients in the mixer, attach the dough hook, walk away and do something else for 10 minutes. From experience, I would recommend your “something else” be in the same room as your mixer at work. I left to vacuum once, and came back just in time to save Gloria from walking off the counter top.
Once you’ve let your mixer do the heavy work (unless you were looking for a workout and wanted to mix and knead by hand), you just need to let it rise, shape it, let it rise again, then bake. Easy, right? It takes some time, but you certainly don’t need to watch the dough rise for an hour. Do your laundry, vacuum. Read a book. Run to the grocery store (but time yourself, because you dont’ want to let the bread over-rise). When you pull that golden loaf out of the oven, you should feel a little bit like a hero. And your home will smell like a bakery. And you just made your own loaf and didn’t need a store to give you it (well “give” if you then give them money). Plus, if you use this recipe, it will be lactose-free and safe for a tummy who can’t handle dairy.
It’s soft, chewy, has a nice crust – and makes the perfect sandwich. It also lends itself easily to variations. Try sprinkling with diced onion, grated cheese or even a cinnamon spread before rolling dough into a loaf. You might also want to try adding a topping like sesame seeds or poppy seeds. While you’re at it, if you have some extra time, some homemade butter made by the same stand mixer is a nice accompaniment!
Homemade White Bread
Yield: 1 9″ Loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Rising Time: 2 hours | Bake Time: 40 – 50 minutes
3¾ cups all-purpose flour (or a mixture of white and whole wheat flours)
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm lactose-free milk (you could probably substitute non-dairy milk, but I haven’t personally tried)
1/3 cup warm water (between 105 to 110 degrees F)
2 tbsp unsalted lactose-free butter, melted (or vegan margarine)
3 tbsp honey
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tsp water
1 tbsp seeds, optional (poppy seeds, sesame seeds, you choose)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has become foamy.
3. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
4. In the same bowl as the yeast mixture, stir in the melted butter, milk and honey. Turn the stand mixer on to low and slowly add the liquid.
5. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Stop the machine a few times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary. If the dough is too sticky, add a tbsp of flour at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency. If the dough is too dry, add a tbsp of water to help pull the dough together.
6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with clean tea towel and place in the warmed oven until the dough has doubled in size – about 40 to 50 minutes.
7. Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches (as long as your pan). With the long side of the rectangle facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed.I like to pinch the ends shut too so it doesn’t unroll itself. (Note: A few variations can take place at this point.Sprinkle 1/2 a diced onion, try adding some grated cheese, or even a cinnamon spread.)
8. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover and set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size again – about 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in your tea kettle. Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack at set the loaf onto the middle rack.
10. If you want to experiment with slashing and toppings, now is the time. If you’d like to add a topping, brush the top of the loaf with an egg wash and then sprinkle with your desired toppings. If you want to add a slash or two, use a very sharp knife and slice about 1 cm into the top of the dough after you put the toppings on. If you don’t cut deep enough, the slashes won’t be as noticeable. If you cut too slowly, the dough will catch on the bread and wont’ have a clean cut.
11. Bake 40 – 50 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle reads 195 degrees.
12. Allow the bread to cool a few minutes before removing it from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature.
13. Slice and serve – eat as is, spread with butter or margarine, make it into a sandwich. Enjoy!
(Adapted from American Sandwich Bread by Brown Eyed Baker at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/07/20/american-sandwich-bread/)