Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homemade White Bread (Egg Free- Can be Dairy Free too!)

There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven.  I love it!  I am kind of picky about the kind of bread I eat.  I don't like the cheap-o full of preservative kinds of breads.  I LOVE Grandma Sycamore's bread, but like most store bought breads, it has soy flour in it. :(  When we found out about my son's soy allergy, I checked every.single.loaf.of.bread on the rack at every grocery store in town and none of them were going to work for us.  So, I am now making our bread.  It's not that hard if you have the right equipment.  I bought a KitchenAid stand mixer a couple years ago that I use several times a week.  One day I would like to get a more heavy duty mixer, like a Bosch, but for now this works.  I've tried several different bread recipes, and this is the one I keep coming back too. It is from the recipe booklet that came with my KitchenAid Stand mixer.  I like it because from start to finish it only takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours! 


Egg Free Homemade White Bread (can be Dairy free too!)
From Egg Free Bakery, slightly adapted from KitchenAid Recipe Booklet

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened OR 1/4 cup canola oil works great too!
2 heaping tbsp SAF yeast (or 3 pkgs active dry yeast)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
6-7 cups flour
2 cups very warm water (very important!)

In a stand mixer bowl, combine butter or margarine, yeast, sugar, salt and 5-1/2 cups flour.  Mix together on low speed about 1 minute.  While, it's mixing, fill up a liquid measuring cup with 2 cups water.  I turn my faucet on warm and, using my wrist to test the temperature, when it feels comfortably warm but not scalding hot, it's the right temperature. Continuing mixing on low and gradually add warm water mixing until water is incorporated.  Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, only adding enough flour as needed until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of the bowl. Let the flour fully incorporate before adding more.  You don't want to add too much! Knead on speed 2 for 3-5 minutes.  Cover and let rest 20-30 minutes.  Lightly spray your hands and work surface with cooking spray, roll out dough into a small rectangle and roll up, pinching seams to seal and tucking ends under loaf.  Place in two greased 8-1/2  x 4-1/2-inch bread pans.  Cover and let rise about 20-30 minutes or until double in size.  Halfway through rise time, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until nicely browned on top.  Remove from oven and immediately remove out of pan to wire rack to cool. If desired, brush tops of hot bread with butter. Cool completely before storing.  Yields 2 loaves. Keeps for 3-4 days-- I always freeze on of the loaves for later.  (If there is still bread left by day 4 we use it to make french toast or grilled sandwiches.  I even grind of the heels of the bread to make fresh bread crumbs-- which also can be stored in the freezer for future use)

*Butter or margarine?  I've used both and honestly I cannot tell a difference.  So I usually end up just using margarine because it's cheaper.  I like to use my butter in recipes where it really counts.  :)   UPDATE:  I just recently tried using oil in the recipe and it worked FABULOUSLY!  I am almost preferring the oil over the butter/margarine....

*SAF yeast? This is instant yeast and is wonderful because you don't need to "proof" the yeast and it requires less rising time.  It makes all the difference!  I find it at WinCo for just over $3 for 1 lb.  For as much as I use yeast, it lasts me quite a while!

*I have to stress the importance of NOT ADDING TOO MUCH FLOUR!  That was always my biggest problem when I made bread before.  The bread should be slightly tacky to touch.  The best tip I ever learned was to use shortening or cooking spray when you work with the dough (during kneading and shaping) rather than flour.  This is especially helpful if you don't have a stand mixer and are making and kneading this by hand.

*You can also use half wheat flour/half white flour in this recipe too.







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