When Covid-19 hit in mid-March and just going to the supermarket became an ordeal, I quickly realized I could make much better bread than the usual store stock. Having made a lot of bread in the past, but for various reasons, the weather among others, I had lost the habit. Not now. While looking for a really good recipe – not overly complicated, but that provided great texture (read: good slicing characteristics for toast and sandwiches) – I came across this recipe from rock recipes. As in The Rock. The Rock of Newfoundland, not to be confused with any other rock. Barry Parsons, the creator of rock recipeshas a real knack for making amazing recipes, and just to let you know it’s kind of a love story, of course, I have all of her cookbooks.
A Shortage Flour Supply Bread Route
What followed over the next few weeks and months was a culinary journey. A bread journey to be exact. What started out as white bread has moved on to rye, pumpernickel and a caramelized onion version. The rye and pumpernickel are from another source, but the onion is a variation I created on the white bread from Rock Recipes. So here’s the story: At first, I started using Rock Recipe White Bread, but as we were in the midst of a pandemic, the usual supplies of flour and yeast ran dry. It has become an almost comic coincidence, but when you need bread, you know no limits.
At first, my flour supply was not up to the task, so I had to find flour somewhere. Enter Amy (pseudonym), friend and wife of my mechanic. “Oh, I have a 5 pound bag that I bought for someone else who doesn’t want it anymore. You can take it.” My car happened to need its snow tires removed. Ended.
Then the yeast supply disappeared. I asked my son the non-baker if he could help me on this. Living in a big city and knowing the local supply was devastated, he said it was safe. A few days later, a large bag of SAF Instant Yeast arrived, along with a story. He crossed the street from his house to go to a small Italian market. He saw something called yeast extract and thought that sounded good. Get up at the checkout. The girl, who knew him, suddenly asked, “Are you Australian?”
“What do you want to do with this yeast extract? »
Oh… my mother wants to bake bread.
“OH. No! You don’t want Marmite!” She led him down the aisle where the real yeast was (sorry Marmite lovers).
In a fairly short time, I was blowing into the 5-pound bag and making increasingly worried flour calls. Again, my non-baker son came to the rescue in spectacular fashion. He returned to the little Italian market telling me that they had very “big” sacks of flour. Of course, good. Buy it. A few days later he arrives, and I started to get an idea of something here. He backed his little Honda up to the garage, popped the trunk, and I had a “uh-oh, what did I do here,” as he pulled out a 50-pounder. That’s flour! A little shocked, but oh so delighted.
Similarly, more flour is needed and it was discovered that the local health food store has started delivery. Awesome! More flour, this time 20 pounds of rye and plain white.
What were the results ? I started making four to six loaves each time I baked. Usually four, but if I knew my son was going out I would make an extra and send some loaves home with him. And it’s still happening! The technique has been simplified even further, and I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, but if you want to take out your Covid frustrations over the dough and knead by hand, go for it. During all these months, no commercial bread came into the house (I admit the misplaced French baguette that came from the supermarket last week, but other than that). In short, without further ado, here is the recipe for the Best Homemade White Bread
The best homemade white bread recipe
- 6 1/2 cups flour
- 1 packet of 5 grams or 2 teaspoons of traditional dry yeast (or I use 2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast)
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 cups lukewarm whole milk
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
For the traditional yeast:
1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in half a cup of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water and let sit for about 15 minutes until the yeast foams well, then stir. If using instant yeast, simply add it to the flour mixture with 1/2 cup warm water. (Just make sure you end up with the 3 tablespoons of sugar in total in the recipe.)
2. Mix 3 cups of flour with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tbsp. salt (and your instant yeast if using it at this stage) in a large bowl or in the bottom of a large electric mixer that uses a dough hook.
3. Add prepared yeast, melted butter and hot milk.
4. Using a wooden spoon or the regular spatula of your electric mixer, mix for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
Mixer or beat by hand
1. If using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point and begin to slowly incorporate the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour. If you’re not using an electric mixer, continue mixing the flour, gradually until a soft dough forms that leaves (cleans) the sides of the bowl. (Note: you may need to use a little more flour. It depends on the time of year and the humidity at times. If you need to add another 1/2 cup or more, don’t worry. Add just enough flour to form a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and remains slightly sticky but can be handled with bare hands.
2. Turn the dough over on the work surface or breadboard to knead it.
3. Knead the dough for another ten minutes either with an electric mixer or using your hands on a breadboard or work surface.
1. Cover the dough and let it rest and rise for an hour. Degas the dough and knead it for a few minutes by hand before letting it rest for another 10 minutes. See the note below for the handy tip I developed.
2. Grease 2 medium loaf pans. Divide the dough into 4-6 portions. Form each division into a ball. Place 2 to 3 balls of dough in each loaf pan.
3. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise to about 2 inches above the edge of the pan, about 2 hours depending on room temperature.
1. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of pans you are using. Loaves should have a golden crust and sound hollow when tapped to be fully cooked. Alternatively, using a thermometer, it should read 180 degrees.
2. Once cooked, turn the loaves over on a wire rack to cool. Brush the top with melted butter if desired to soften the crust (I don’t find this necessary).
I’ve come up with the handiest little trick to make sure your bread rises, and fast enough. Use a seed starter mat. Just plug in your mat and put the batter, either in the bowl or in the molds, on the mat, and let the heat and yeast take over.Works beautifully.So when spring is over, don’t put away your seed mat.It is an important kitchen tool.
Recipes Parsons, Barry C. Rock: rock recipes. Last accessed November 20, 2020. Mr. Parsons also has four cookbooks to his name: Rock Recipes 1, Rock Recipes 2, Christmas Rock Recipesand Cookies with rock recipes. His fifth just came out now, Rock Recipes 3. I can personally vouch that each is excellent.
Sue Van Slootenteaches cooking and baking classes at her home on beautiful Big Rideau Lake in Ontario, Canada. She specializes in small classes for maximum benefit. Follow his family adventures and discover his course offers onwww.SVanSlooten.com. Send Sue’s questions to suevanslooten [at] iCloud [dot] comand read all his NEWS FROM MOTHER EARTH posts here.
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