The Evolution of Bread

My little silly eater is a wonderful bread eater and enjoys most all
the loaves I bake. The other of my silly eaters thought that a whole
wheat baguette was more akin to what bread/starch might have been
offered in the Middle Ages. Thanks, honey 🙂
In an effort to create something more modern day and palatable for all,
as well as something good for toast and potential sandwiches, I went
exploring. What I found was this:
Fluffy White Sandwich Bread
Recipe from:
Mom's Big Book of Baking 
by Lauren Chattman

Makes one 9-inch loaf

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk

  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) rapid-rise yeast

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if necessary

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  1. Heat
    the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until just warm to the
    touch. Pour it into a glass measuring cup and whisk in the yeast. Let
    the mixture stand for 5 minutes to give the yeast a chance to dissolve.

  2. Combine
    the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times
    to combine. With the motor running, pour the milk and yeast mixture and
    cooled melted butter into the feed tube and process until the dough
    forms a smooth ball, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber
    spatula once or twice if necessary. To knead the dough, continue to
    process for 1 minute.

  3. Coat
    the inside of a large mixing bowl with cooking spray. Shape the dough
    into a rough ball and place it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic
    wrap and let the dough stand in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough
    has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Coat
    the inside of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the dough
    onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press it into a
    rectangle measuring about 1 inch thick and 9 inches long. Tightly roll
    the rectangle into a 9-inch-long cylinder and place it in the prepared
    pan, seam side down. Press the dough into the pan so that it touches
    the sides and reaches into the corners. Cover the pan with plastic wrap
    and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in
    size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  6. Remove
    the plastic wrap from the loaf pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake
    the bread until it is golden brown and firm, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove
    the pan from the oven and turn the bread out onto a wire rack. Let it
    cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

This turned out really fairly well for us, though I only made it to the
Victorian Age in the Bread Evolution timeline. I am competing with a
lifetime of truly fluffy (and truly fake) white sandwich bread, though,
so I don't imagine the transition and/or appeal will be achieved any
time soon. The bread itself was tasty and had good crumb. It was easy
to make though I'd probably add a wee bit more salt next time.


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