The Basics of Great White Bread
Baking bread is easy and impressive. The house smells so good that you want to eat the air while the bread is baking. I usually make 3-4 loaves at a time or about 12 mini baguettes in my case (I prefer serving mini baguettes in place of toast for breakfast) but the dough can be formed into many different shapes before baking. Let’s make some Bread!
3 heaping cups of bread flour (I get my best results with a bread flour)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fast rise yeast
2 oz canola oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
Place flour in mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook)
On top of flour add salt
on top of salt add sugar
on top of sugar add yeast
on top of yeast add oil
on top of oil goes water
canola oil spray
Turn mixer on low and allow the ingredients to incorporate for about 3 min (I lock the mixer head in place the mixer may begin to buck)
Increase mixer power to lever three and continue kneading dough for an additional 2 min.
Remove dough and transfer to a double set of bowls like I have pictured. I place warm water in the outer bowl and place the dough in a sprayed second bowl to allow the rising to occur in a more perfect environment.
I use a dinner plate as my cover. You can place a towel over your bowl too. In my case the dinner plates are right in the vicinity where I prepare my dough and thus they get the job of acting as a cover.
The dough will rise and when it has doubled in size I take my fist and gently punch it down in the bowl. I let the dough rise twice.
On my sprayed sheet pans I place the now ready to shape dough. I will form the three mini baguettes from my big ball of dough by cutting the big dough ball in thirds.
I am too lazy to make a floured surface to work on so I do all my work on my sheet pans that are sprayed with canola oil or cooking spray.
I form the baguette shape in my hands and on the sprayed pan. If I am adding sesame seeds or poppy seeds to the outside of my baguettes I do it now. I worry not if there are some on my baking sheet. I can pick the stray seeds up with the outside of the dough as I roll over them.
With my three baguettes formed I place some slits in the top of the dough with a serrated knife (this allows for venting of the inside of the baguette during baking).
I now warm the oven to 400F. The oven will take about 14 min to heat to temperature so I let my bread proof a bit off to the side uncovered.
When the oven is at temperature…in they go for about 12-15 min. Make sure you look occasionally to see if they are browning. When the baguettes are nice and toasty brown I remove them and let them cool on the rack. At my home I bake a minimum of 3 of these dough balls or 12 baguettes. I freeze them for use all week. They make a great treat with coffee or tea in the morning. Occasionally I bring some to my work pal…he likes my bread too. Enjoy!