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Friday, September 16, 2011

White Bread...makin it in Arizona

I have not made bread in over 4 years. That is since before i met Mr.Man. For the entirety of our relationship our local dollar stores have carried the whole grain whole wheat 7 grain breads for 99 cents...Sara Lee would simply throw the overstock to the local Dollar Trees or Big Lots. We never hesitated to buy the Sara Lee or Aunt Hattie's because it did NOT have high fructose corn syrup.

I have been extraordinarily busy the last few months but a few weeks ago I finally got off my keister and started trying out different bread recipe. The recipes that I was originally using called for the fresh yeast that I used to have in my professional kitchen and I really can't purchase that right now - it's just not worth the trip to AJ's or Whole Foods.

Also, the delivery people here have a tendency to leave things out on the dock in the heat so it's usually compromised. I figure I might as well try a few recipes out using the individual packets of yeast that I was able to purchase for pennies. I also tried "expired" yeast and current yeast. They acted the same in my opinion.

The other thing is in my work kitchens we always had a proof box or could park a rack near the dish-washing station where it would be subject to warmth and moisture - that had to be replicated in my own kitchen.

I will be doing a video on this - but I just wanted to blog this out.

The photos you see in the photo are the white bread that i made - it was my 2nd attempt. I have discovered that here in AZ you get better results doing a double rise with a 3rd rise while proofing. Proofing is when you allow it to rise in it's final form with controlled temps and moisture. This can be achieved by proofing in the oven with a pan underneath with hot water - this warms the oven and locks in moisture.

My first attempts were as hard as king Arthur style yeasted breads. The yeasted quick breads like those in Northern Europe. What I was aiming for was the familiar fluffiness of American Style Breads without the sugar. I finally got it after trying a recipe provided by is an Amish White Bread recipe.


2 1/4 c warm water (110 degrees F)
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1/4 c oil
5 1/4 c bread flour

I know that most people do theirs on the counter I do mine in the bowl. I have very large stainless bowls and in my opinion this just keeps everything cleaner and I'm used to eyeballing it so I know exactly when it doubles.

  • Mix the sugar, yeast and warm water in a bowl - allow it to foam. Mine took 20+ minutes to get a nice foam on it.
  • Mix salt and oil into yeast. Add Flour 1cup at a time until incorporated
  • Allow dough to be sticky to the touch like cookie dough
  • Knead until smooth (8-10 minutes), Cover with cloth and allow to double (60-90 mins)
  • Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside
  • Punch down, knead 2 minutes, allow to double again (60-90 mins)
  • Punch down and divide in 2 equal parts
  • Knead in a flat circle, folding under and shaping into loaf
  • Place dough in loafpans, brush with eggwash and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Place loaf pans in oven
  • Place a roasting pan on rack under the loafpans - fill with 5 cups of boiling water, shut oven and allow to rise 2 inches above loaf pan. Do not overproof or your loaves will DEFLATE. I wait about 30 minutes then throw out the water and put another 5 cups in.
  • Once dough bounces back it is ready to bake
  • Heat oven to 375 with loaves in there
  • Bake for 25 minutes after the oven is at temp
  • Remove from heat - cool on racks
Some people just leave it for 10-30 minutes and then put it up - I allow mine to rest overnight. I know it sounds like a painstaking process - but if you want it to be all fluffy and happy like wonderbread this is how I do it in the desert. Also - I started sneaking those little plastic bags they leave by the meat counter and that's what I put my bread in. Every time I go shopping I just yank 3-4 of those bags and leave them in a drawer.

Whole wheat bread coming soon Also!

Happy Baking and Please let me know if you have any questions.


  1. lol @ fluffy and happy like wonderbread! I've been meaning to make a loaf of homemade bread (for the first time) just haven't gotten around to doing it. I'm glad you're going to do wheat bread as wouldn't hurt to learn how to bake both

  2. @Tasha: Hopefully it's less arid where you live and you won't require that 3rd rise. I'll tell you this even if the wheat bread doesn't come out perfect - I cut it up and baked it into croutons - wheat is definitely better for croutons.

    It's odd but we can taste the high fructose in the breads that we used to buy - it leaves an aftertaste that I can only describe as a high note but yucky.