Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Rewind.... White Loaves!

Since there were five Tuesdays this month, this last one gives the Tuesday's with Dorie bakers a chance to re-do a recipe or make one up that we missed.  I made the White Loaves, which were actually the very first recipe that the group ever made, back on February 7, 2012!  I started the group a bit later, so I missed the first few recipes.  I think I am totally caught up now, though! 

Anyway, I am not sure why it took me over 2 years to make this bread, because it is delicious.  I don't generally buy white bread, because I don't care for the white generic squishy Wonder-bread type white bread that I think of.  This is still nice and soft in the middle, but has a much better chew.  And the flavor is very mild and nice.  This bread is fantastic for a piece of toast in the morning,  for a sandwich, slathered with butter and garlic for garlic bread, you name it!  I was so proud to send the clever girl to school with a sandwich with homemade bread in her lunchbox!  And that's because she ASKS for it.  She wants the new bread.  Yeah!

White Loaves
adapted from Baking with Julia

2 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups (approximately) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pour 1/2 cup of the warm water into the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.  Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar and whisk together gently.  Allow to rest for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is creamy.

Using the mixer and dough hook, add the remaining water and about 3 1/2 cups of the flour to the yeast.  Go slowly, so you don't get a flour explosion all over your kitchen!  Keep that mixer on low speed.  Once these initial cups of flour are mixed in, slowly add the remaining 3 1/2 cups.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the dough comes together.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and hook as needed.  If the dough doesn't come together, add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Add the salt and continue to mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes.  You may need to give your mixer a little hug to keep her from dancing off of the counter.  A reassuring hand should do the trick.  If your mixer refuses to mix this dough, no worries.  Mix it about halfway in the mixer if you can, and then dump it onto a lightly floured board and knead by  hand for 8 to 10 more minutes.  When the dough is thoroughly mixed it will be smooth and elastic.  Add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until incorporated.  Your mixer will probably think this is just fine.  Butter makes everyone happy!

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Place in a large buttered bowl (something that can hold double the amount of the ball).  Turn the ball all around to cover the entire surface with butter.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it doubles in size.

Butter two loaf pans (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch) and set them aside.

Deflate the dough and turn it onto a work surface.  Divide in half and set one half aside.  Using your palm or a rolling pin (I used my hand) pat the dough into a rectangle about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long, with a shorter side facing you.  Starting at the top, create an envelope fold in the dough.  Fold the top edge 2/3 of the way down the dough, as if you were folding a letter.  Now fold it again, so the bottom of your page  meets the fold you made.  Pinch the seam together.  Turn the roll so that the seam is on the center of the dough, facing up.  Fold in the ends of the dough a little if necessary, so they will fit into the pan.  Pinch all seams to seal and turn the loaf over so all seams are on the bottom.  Gently pick up the dough and place it into one of your prepared pans.  Repeat with the second half of the dough. 

Cover the loaves loosely with buttered plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a warm place (about 80F) until they double in size again, about 45 minutes.  They will grow over the tops of the pans a bit. 

While the loaves rise, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375F.

To test if the loaves are fully risen, poke your finger in the top.  If the impression stays, they are done!  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until they are golden brown and an instant read thermometer stuck into the center of the bottom of the bread reads 200F.  To make this part easier, once the bread has baked for about 25 minutes, open the oven, tip the loaves out of their pans, and put them back in.  This will help them brown along the sides AND make it much easier to take the bread's temperature!  Allow to cool, removed from the pan, on a rack.  This bread should not be cut until they are almost completely cool.  Waiting is the hardest part!

The bread can be kept in a brown paper bag for a day or two before it is cut.  Once it is sliced, turn it cut side down on a counter or cutting board and cover with a tea towel.  To store a bit longer, wrap airtight with plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.  Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.
Printable Recipe

I think my bread should have risen a bit more, maybe.  Though I am not sure why it didn't.  The crumb on the inside was good...  I did feel like the bread was pretty sticky when I set it out for the first rise, maybe I  should have kneaded it more??   It has gotten very humid here (can summer really be here already??  NO NO NO!!) so maybe the humidity is a factor as well.  Regardless, it was delicious and I will definitely make it again. 


  1. Excellent pick!!! We loved this, too!

    1. Thanks! I can't believe I've waited this long!

  2. Your bread looks fabulous. Definitely a great lunchbox pick! Also, I must say that I LOVE the twirly dress!

  3. You've baked two beautiful loaves!
    I remember baking them long ago and fall in love with their taste (and as you, I usually don't bake white bread). I stunned how easy the recipe was.
    If you haven't tried the whole wheat bread of the book, I highly recommend it: you'll love it even more (if this is possible...)
    All the best
    XX Carola

  4. I wish summer were here :-) But its getting closer!

    Looks good - and happy birthday to the clever baby.

  5. They look great! Didn't the kitchen smell amazing while they were baking?


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