Homemade Bread

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The February issue of Bon Apetit is all about homemade bread. It’s been sitting on my coffee table along with a new-to-me The Kinfolk Table and between both publications I think there’s enough bread recipes to last a lifetime.

Thankfully I’m not gluten intolerant and I really love making bread. Unfortunately, for me, making bread has been a little like figuring out how to roast a chicken, not easy and many many mistakes made along the way.

But this particular recipe is so good and fairly simple, and worth every nuanced step because it is flaky and crisp on the outside but dense and soft on the outside with just a tiny hint of sweetness.

We make toast in the morning and sandwiches at lunch with it. Last week I made a sandwich with deli turkey, thinly sliced apple and smoked gouda. I grilled it until the bread was toasty and crisp and the cheese melted. It was crazy good, so good even the preschoolers who were eating boring old ham sandwiches wanted in on my lunch and I ended up having to split half my sandwich with them.

*Adapted from The Kinfolk Table

Homemade Bread

  • ½ cup milk, warmed to 120 degrees
  • ½ cup water, warmed to 120 degrees
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 1/3 cups wheat or white bread flour (I’ve used both, on this particular day I used white)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing

Line a 9×5 inch bread pan with parchment paper. Heat the milk and water and stir the yeast into the liquids, allowing it to stand until it foams, about 10 minutes.

Combine the flour, honey, butter, 2 teaspoons salt and the egg in a large bowl and mix until well combined and then stir in the yeast mixture.

Knead the bread until elastic and slightly sticky. I use a stand mixer with a dough attachment and it typically takes about 5-7 minutes. When the dough is well-mixed, put it in a large bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap or a dish towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until it doubles in size.

Shape the dough into an oval and place it in the bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight. The dough will continue to rise in the fridge.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush it over the loaf. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: The original recipe calls to spray the oven with water to create steam but instead I place a metal pan with water on the bottom of the oven while the bread bakes. This is completely optional but it’s supposed to produce a taller, fuller loaf of bread.

 

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