In Pursuit of Perfect Bread

Light Wheat Bread crust
Light wheat bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and featured on Smitten Kitchen

Adventures in Bread

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve developed a new interest: making dough for rolls, pizza crust, and now bread in the West Bend bread machine (circa 1994) that Elizabeth purchased at a second-hand store when she bought the house a couple of years ago.

West Bend bread machine

West Bend bread machine

Neither one of us particularly likes the loaves of bread that it can produce, but as a dough-making machine its got a lot to be said for it: clean-up is pretty easy and it takes care of the first rise!

That said, I’ve had problems with coming up with loaves that are tall enough to be used as sandwich bread.  Sure, I’ve made breads that were good for slicing up into strips to dip in olive oil, breads that make decent toast with some peanut butter and honey on top, but nothing that would really hold together sandwich makings.

Finally, after a few loaves that were too small in the 9.5 inch bread pan, Elizabeth and I figured that I simply wasn’t making enough dough.  I was following recipes first for one-pound and then for one and a half-pound loaves of bread, but what I really needed was a two-pound loaf.  Last night, I got it “right.”

First successful sandwich bread: “Light wheat bread”

Light Wheat Bread on the cooling rack

Light wheat bread on the cooling rack

Elizabeth pointed me to a post on Smitten Kitchen about “light wheat bread.”  The recipe was from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and made a two-pound loaf.  While Smitten Kitchen called for an 8.5″ loaf pan, I used the 9.5″ pan and it came out just fine.

Light wheat bread ingredients, in order for a bread machine:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into fourths and placed in the corners of the pan)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

As per the Smitten Kitchen, I rolled the dough (rather than folding) and then allowed it to rise for an hour at room temperature, covered only with plastic wrap.  Baking time was 40 minutes at 350 degrees, and the inner temperature was 200° F on my Oxo instant-read thermometer, but I was actually shooting for 190° F.

After allowing it to cool for over an hour I finally sliced into it; less than 24 hours later about 2/3 of the loaf is already gone!  I think I’ll be making this one again…soon!

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This entry was posted in Adventures in the green kitchen, Recipes that worked! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to In Pursuit of Perfect Bread

  1. Pingback: Adventures in hot dog buns? | With One Cat in the Yard

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