White Sandwich Loaf

I have bread hang-ups. Truth be told, my first bread post (Amish White Bread Buns and Some Bread Basics) was also the last time I’ve been able to make a decent loaf of bread in a while. It seems I always do something wrong, ending up with loaves that are usually dry and possibly even rock hard.

Well, recently my mom and I discussed taking bread-making lessons. The major problems though with taking classes are the amount of fees, as well as class schedules that just won’t fit with mine. So what choice does this boy have? What else, but to turn to my trusty friend, the internet.

There are a ton of wonderful resources to be found on the net, as long as one knows how to filter the trash out of the search results. In my search for bread wisdom, I found a couple of good video resources. You can check them out through the links below:

  • King Arthur Flour Videos – They have videos on the basics of bread-making which even novice bakers can follow
  • The Bertinet Method – This is a YouTube member video showing how to make cinnamon rolls using a dough kneading technique by chef and baker Richard Bertinet

I studied the various techniques and pointers presented in all the videos I found and applied them the other day when I decided to give bread-making another try. Last night, I chose to make a sandwich loaf, adapting another recipe from Allrecipes.com, Grandma VanDoren’s White Bread recipe.

My first loaf of White Bread. Was really good with some tuna salad.

My first loaf of White Bread. Was really good with some tuna salad.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Steps

In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, salt, oil, sugar, and 3 cups flour. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add the remaining flour making sure that the dough does not become too dry.

On a clean, dry and unfloured surface, knead the dough (Bertinet method) until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn several times to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for at least 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, and let it rest a few minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape into loaves, and place in two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch greased bread pans. Let rise for 30 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 35 to 45 minutes. The loaves may need to be covered for the last few minutes with foil to prevent excess browning. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Now, I’m being specific about using the Bertinet method. “Why is that?”, you may ask. Well, I baked the other day using my usual kneading method, and last night using the Bertinet method, and even a novice bread maker like me can tell the difference. Heck, even my friends could tell the difference. My second bread wasn’t in any way dry, formed a tender crumb and has yet to stale from staying on the counter for nearly an entire day. Though this particular kneading method will need some practice, I’m willing to clock in the time for practice.

As for my bread hang-up? Well, I think my bread curse has ended. Later today, I’ll try to make some cinnamon rolls for work tomorrow. Wish me luck. 🙂

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