Today's project is White Loaves from Baking with Julia by Dori Greenspan. Here we go!
I've owned Baking with Julia for a number of years. It's been a long time, however, since I've made the recipe for basic white loaves. I'm going to read it over, and then assemble the ingredients and equipment.
The recipe calls for unsalted butter at room temperature. I keep butter in the freezer until it's needed, so that must be taken out right away.
Next is flour. This recipe calls for a lot of it. But measuring flour is a pain! It's much easier to weigh the flour. The King Arthur folks say that a cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.
I'll weigh the water, too. So simple.
So I have now gathered everything together. Flour, water, butter, salt, yeast, and sugar. Let's mix it up!
Water is poured into a large mixing bowl. Sugar and yeast are then added. The yeast is allowed to ferment in the bowl for a few minutes. When it is foamy, more water and half of the flour are added to the bowl and combined.
The rest of the flour is gradually added. Next, the salt is added. Then the dough is kneaded for several minutes.
Finally, the butter is added to the dough. More mixing occurs until: Ta-da! The dough is pulled together.
But wait. There's more.
The dough goes into a oiled bowl which is then covered with plastic wrap. After an hour the dough has doubled in bulk, as is shown in the picture below.
I deflate the dough, turn it out onto a cutting board, and divide it in half using my big knife. Working with one section at a time, I shape the dough into a rectangle, fold it like a letter, seal the edge, and put it into a prepared bread pan.
To keep dough from sticking to the cutting board or my hands, I use water. I rub a little water on the surface of the cutting board and keep a bowl of water nearby to dip my hands into while working with the dough.
The dough rises for a second time in the bread pans. Meanwhile, the oven is heating.
After the second rise, the dough bakes for about an hour, until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees. I absolutely do check the bread's temperature with a food thermometer before declaring it finished. And there we have it, the finished loaves.
One loaf is perfectly shaped. The second is a little lumpy because I made into cinnamon swirl bread and things got a little wild when rolling it up. Below is an interior shot of the cinnamon bread. This will make excellent toast.
Fun and easy to make. Delicious to eat.