Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Baking bread is relaxing so now that the weather has started to cool down a slight bit from 34C to 28C, I decided that I would be able to stand a few hours of kneading in a hot kitchen especially since I accidentally found some bread flour (pretty hard to come by here) and bought three 1.5 kilo bags for our pantry. So, which bread recipe to attempt first – challah (too complicated), sourdough (48 hours just to prepare the yeast), biscuits (I would have to do fried chicken as well)……so, I ended up making a plain loaf of sandwich bread in the food processor – how easy is that? It took about 4 hours from start to finish and the result was pretty good. We’ve been having thick slices for breakfast with apricot and raspberry jam.

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Sandwich bread
(from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)
  • 3 1/2 cups (about 1 lb.) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (*I used bread flour)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar or honey, or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature if you’re working by hand, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Scant 1 1/3 cups cool milk, preferably whole or 2 percent (warm the milk to at least 70F if you are working by hand)
  • Place the flour in the container of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the salt and yeast and process for 5 seconds. With the machine still running, add the sweetener, softened butter, and most of the milk through the feed tube (you will need a little less milk if you are using a liquid sweetener). Process about 30 seconds, then remove the cover. The dough should be in a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball. If it is too dry, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If it is too wet, which is unlikely, add a tablespoon or two of flour and process briefly. Knead for a minute or so by hand.
  • Use half the oil or melted butter to grease a large bowl. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for at least 2 hours, until nearly doubled in bulk. Deflate the ball and shape it once again into a ball, let rest on a lightly floured surface for about 15 minutes, covered.
  • Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, flatten it into a rectangle, then shape it into a loaf. Use the remaining oil or butter to grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. lace the loaf in the pan, flattening with the back of your hand. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the top of the loaf lightly with water, then place in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it (it will fall easily from the loaf pan) or the internal temperature reads about 200F. Remove loaf from pan and cool on a wire rack before slicing.
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