Earlier this week I was feeling some stress. My most favorite stress-reliever is baking bread. Something about working with my hands, dough stuck to all of my fingers, will always bring me to my happy place. Plus, when it’s over: FRESH BREAD!
My go-to is this recipe, and as I am apt to do I made the loaves according to recipe the first time, and played a little the second go-around.
Julia’s White Bread
adapted from a recipe from Baking with Julia
makes 2 loaves
- 2 1/2 C warm water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 7 C all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 oz unsalted butter, at room temp
- EVOO to grease rising bowl
- Pour 1/2 C of the water into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast & sugar, whisk to blend. Let the mixture rest for about 5 mins, until it’s nice & frothy.
- Using a dough hook, add the remaining 2C of water, & about 3 1/2 C flour to the yeast mixture. Mix on lower speed until combined, then add 3 1/2 C more flour.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium, and scrape down bowl & hook as needed until the dough begins to come together.
- Add the salt, and knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- When the dough is mixed, add the butter, gradually, until incorporated. If the dough, begins to come apart here, don’t fret, keep kneading the dough & it will come back together.
- Shape the dough into a ball & place it in an oiled bowl. Make sure it is a large enough bowl, since the dough will double in size. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Grease 2 standard-sized loaf pans, and set aside.
- When the dough has risen you will want to punch it down to release the air, shape it into another ball, and split that in half, shaping each into a round shape with the edges tucked underneath.
- Place each loaf in a pan, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour a second time. While the loaves rise, preheat the oven to 375F.
- When the loaves have risen, bake for about 40 minutes until they are honey-brown and make a hollow sound when tapped.
Changing it up:
When I made my second round of bread, I used 1 tbsp of molasses in lieu of the sugar. It got frothy when mixed with the yeast, so I knew it was good-to-go for the bread rising. I did not find that this addition effected the flavor or color of the bread in any way. Other options to try include honey and agave nectar.