Friday, March 03, 2017

It's been quite a while. The year is 2017 and we're all still trying to digest Donald J. Trump as pre...pres... pr... the hell with it. In much better news, spring is around the corner. It's still cold but the days are longer now, and the warm hint of a breeze here and there makes promises I know the weather will keep... eventually. Welcome to March.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to the basics

Ok, I'm interrupting my two-week nap to post the oft-promised basic bread recipe I use with my Zo. It's very simple in terms of ingredients and methodology. I'm actually deviating from the basics today to experiment with all-purpose flour. I thought of playing it safe and using a half-and-half mix of bread flour and all-purpose, but what kind of half-a$$ed experiment would that be? Naah. I'm going all the way. Hopefully the bread will too... Meanwhile here is the tried-and-true basic recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 cups (minus) ---Water
  • 1 --------------------Egg (room temp.)
  • 4-1/4 cups-----------Bread flour
  • 4 Tbsp.---------------Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp.---------------Dry milk
  • 1 tsp.-----------------Salt
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp.-----------Unsalted butter (room temp.)
  • 2 tsp.-----------------Active dry yeast
Directions

Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup so it's light and fluffy. Note: be accurate in all measurements. This is important. For the unsalted butter, the equivalent is 1/8 of a cup PLUS half of that, for a total of 3/16 ths. :) All ingredients must be at room temperature.

Crack egg into 2-C measuring cup. Add a bit of water and mix it so it's runny - do NOT beat it. Add more water until it reaches the 1-1/3 mark. Mix well. Do not beat the egg. Poor thing needs a delicate touch.. Pour into machine basket.

Carefully add the flour onto the liquid in the basket. Cover well, so there will be no liquid showing. Add butter, sugar and dry milk to the SIDES of the basket, on top of the flour. Then add the salt, placing it in an isolated corner so as NOT TO TOUCH the other ingredients (well, except the flour, bien sûr :). Make a groove in the middle of the flour mound and add the yeast on top... yeast must NOT TOUCH any other ingredients.

Turn machine on, set it on the basic bread program and good luck!

-30-

As I previously mentioned, I'm using all-purpose flour today. I will post the results, although I still recommend bread flour, which has more protein and gluten. If you make bread often, like I do, and the flour starts getting expensive, you can always cut the bread flour with the all-purpose... or can you? Your answer later ... (I've been watching way too many season enders on TV...)

Speaking of TV... there seems to be much whining and groaning about Dr. Who's distinct (and judicious) departure from the (gooey) romantic story lines that permeated much of David Tennant's tenure. My two cents: suck it up, people! This is a simple, basic, family friendly sci-fi show, not a prime-time soap. And now that I've announced to the civilized world I'm an unrepentant Dr. Who fan... see you soon with a trenchant outcome analysis of the great bread experiment.

-Results Analysis and Future Research-

Hmm... Hubby and I have our mouths full of bread right now ... and neither one of us can tell the difference between the breads! Seems that the all-purpose flour yields exactly the same results as the bread flour... This may be due to the egg we add to the recipe. I'm not about to experiment with that, but next time I will mix the flours in equal proportion.

-Conclusion-

Follow the original recipe with bread flour first, to give yourself the best possible chance of getting good results and working out the kinks, and then, once you're confident with your (inevitable) recipe adjustments, go wild! :))