Saturday, February 9, 2008

Honey White Bread

My third try at bread baking went much better then my first and second attempts. Am I finally getting the hang of this?? My yeast even bubbled! Success at last! This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I saw on a great food blog called Cookie Baker Lynn. I must have spent 2 hours on her site just drooling over all her baked goodness. I hope my loaves did her (and Ina) proud!

Honey White Bread
Makes 2 loaves
1/2 cup warm water - (110 degrees F)
2 packages dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1-1/2 cups warm whole milk (110 degrees F.)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
2 extra-large egg yolks
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Place the water in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. If the bowl is cold, be sure the water temperature doesn't drop below 110 degrees. Add the yeast and sugar; stir and allow to dissolve for 5 minutes. You should see bubbles forming on the surface at this point.

Add the milk, butter, and honey. Mix on medium speed until blended. Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low speed, add 2 more cups of flour. Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough of the remaining flour so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl.

When the dough forms a ball that comes away from the bowl, switch to the dough hook attachment. Knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, adding flour slowly as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in volume.

Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with butter. Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a rectangle as wide as your loaf pan and twice as long. Roll it up into a log the width of your bread pan, and pulling just a bit so that you don't get big air bubbles inside. Pinch together the ends and edges. Place each seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover again with the damp towel and allow to rise again for an hour, until doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough is ready, brush the tops with the egg white and bake the breads for 40 to 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. Turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

We practcially devoured a loaf at dinner. Tomorrow we have already planned toast and jam for breakfast.
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