Many of you will know that my last year’s New Year’s resolution was to bake all of our bread. I shared a few recipes last year, like the Caramelized Onion-Beer Bread and Stinging Nettle Loaves, but I held back others, trying to adapt and perfect them first.
Today’s recipe was one of those. Funnily enough, it’s also the one I’ve made the most. I started months back with a basic white bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice — but then added a little rye for chew and flavour — which meant that I had to play with amounts of yeast, sugar and salt to make sure everyone plays nicely (and, more importantly, consistently) together.
It took me a few months, but the time has come.
If you like a lighter bread that still has some texture and earthiness to it, try this recipe. I make a couple of loaves every 2 weeks for the 2 of us. It’s our toast bread in the morning, and it makes scrumptious sandwiches for lunch. Or, if you’re more of a brunch person, how about this bacon, tomato jam and winter greens (radicchio, cilantro & sorrel) sandwich with an over-easy egg.
(click on the title below for a printable version of this recipe)
: A basic loaf that makes fabulous toast and great sandwiches.
- All-Purpose Flour – 4 Cups (525 g)
- Strong Rye Flour – 1 Cup (125 g)
- Sugar ( or honey) – 3 Tble (45 g)
- Instant Yeast – 2½ tsp
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Butter, room temp – 3 Tble (45 g)
- Egg, slightly beaten – 1 large
- Milk, room temp – 1½ Cup (375 g)
- Egg, whisked with 1 tsp water until frothy – for egg wash
- Combine the flours, sugar, yeast, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix, using the paddle attachment, on low speed until the butter is in small pieces.
- Whisk the egg into the milk. Increase the mixer speed to medium and carefully pour in the egg/milk mixture. Once the dough has formed into a ball, change to the dough hook and scraped down the bowl.
- Knead with the stand mixer on medium, until the dough is soft, supple and tacky — but not sticky — about 6 minutes, scraping down the bowl as required. (You may need to add a little flour to get the right dough. It depends on the humidity in the air.) Pour 1 tsp oil into the bowl, roll the dough to coat, cover with a plate or towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the dough is doubled in size.
- Grease 2 loaf pans with butter.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. On a lightly floured counter, press each piece into a rectangle about 5” x 8.” Starting on the shorter end, roll up the dough one section at a time, using your thumbs to pinch the seam closed after each roll. Pinch the final seam closed, then gently rock the loaf to even it out — do not taper the ends. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pans. Ensure the loaf touches both ends of the pan to ensure an even rise. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dishtowel and set aside to rise a second time, until the dough is doubled in size and cresting the top of the pans, about 1½-2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Brush the tops of the loaves gently with the egg wash. Sprinkle with optional garnishes. Bake the loaves for 35-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Remove the loaves from the pans immediately and cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing.
- Store in a paper bag on the counter to keep the crust firm and the interior fresh for 2 days.
- No stand mixer? This is a relatively light-weight dough that’s easy to knead by hand. You’ll have to knead for at least 10 minutes to get the best-textured bread.
- No rye flour? Use wholewheat instead, or use all white for a homemade loaf that’s way better than Wonder.
- Once you’ve got the loaves in the pan, you may choose to slow down the rising by wrapping it tightly and putting it in the fridge. I often bake 1 loaf immediately, and refrigerate the other loaf like this. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge 2 to 3 hours before baking as directed above.
Preparation time: 4 hour(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
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