Don't get me wrong--I don't think my dad has any particular fondness for this type of bread, but one time I made it and he said, "That's good bread." I happen to like this type of bread too. It's good calorie-counting bread. You have a little slice of it with some garlic spread and you're like, that couldn't have been more than a quarter of a piece. I could have three more and only count it as one slice. By the end of the evening, half the loaf is gone and you've lost track. Perfect.

Ingredients:BreadHook

        • 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
        • 3 tablespoons sugar
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
        • 1 packet of Fleishmann's Active Dry Yeast (or equivalent)
        • 1 1/4 cups warm water 
        • 1 stand mixer with bread hook
        • 1 of those fancy pans like in the picture

I start with the flour. Just dump it in the mixing bowl and add in the sugar and salt. Install the bread hook in the mixer. If you don't have a mixer or don't have a bread hook, then go out and buy one. They can't be that much money. What are you saving for? Besides, with all the bread you make, the mixer will pay for itself in only fifty years. 

Mix a packet of yeast with the water and stir it up. 

IMG 2627Set the mixer to a slow speed to combine the flour, sugar, and salt. When the dry ingredients are combined, start pouring in the water. I like to pour in the water very slowly, and I keep the stream very close to the edge of the bowl. You're trying to surprise the flour here--don't announce your intentions. Just add the water so slowly that the bulk of the flour thinks that everything is still okay.

"It's all dry towards the center, only the edge is wet, there's no problem here," I say. Before you know it, you've added all the water and yeast, and the mixer is struggling to maintain speed. The flour is starting to ball up, and that ball is realizing that everything is not okay, and perhaps it never will be okay EVER AGAIN. If your flour doesn't pull together into one solid ball, then add just a tiny bit more water until it does. Show no mercy, and expect none from the bread (this is crucial).

IMG 2625Once everything is nice and smooth in a little ball, let it rise. If your kitchen is over 75°F, you can probably just leave it in the mixing bowl to rise. Sometimes, in the winter, I'll warm up the oven a little and then let it cool off. I'll put the whole mixing bowl in there so it can rise. You might get a skin on the dough, but you can fold that back in.

After the dough doubles in size, knead it back down and let it rise again. 

After the dough rises a second time, roll it out on a big floured surface. I like to roll it out to 16"x24". Cut the sheet of dough into three pieces that are 16"x8". Roll the dough into three loaves 16" long.

Put the loaves in the fancy pan, cut slits in the top, and let them rise again.

Heat up the oven to 375° and bake the bread until it's done.

Eat it all while telling yourself you just want to try a little bit.

 

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