While practicing social distancing and “Stay Safe, Stay Home” guidelines, I’ve been watching hours of my favorite “Great British Bake Off” show on Netflix. There is something so relaxing about watching incredible home chefs tackling amazing recipes and creating works of baked art. While I love this show so much, it has a downside. It makes me want to make, and eat, all those amazing recipes.
Bread Week on that favorite show is always a favorite to watch as I marvel at the different types of bread and the artistry and technique required to get the perfect density, crust and flavor. So naturally, as everyone else is also clamoring for ingredients to make bread right now, I thought I would try out some new bread recipes — sourdough, sweet breads and even traditional favorites.
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Whenever I’m given the option of type of bread for a sandwich, I always opt for the rich, tangy flavors found in sourdough. So naturally, with all this additional time on my hands, I’ve decided to make my own sourdough start. If we weren’t under a quarantine, I would go to my cousin’s house and snatch a start from my Grandma King’s amazing sourdough that created such amazing waffles, but for now I’m making my own. Once I do, it’s time to find some recipes to test it out on.
Try this Simple Sourdough Bread. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups sourdough starter with 3 cups whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of salt and an additional 2-3 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time, attempting to stir in the flour with each addition, using your hands when too difficult to stir. Pour into loaf pans and let raise for 4-12 hours until doubled. Place loaves in a cold oven and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
Since most of my non-work time at home is now spent in the kitchen, it’s a great time to find and perfect a favorite bread recipe. My go-to recipe for delicious, fluffy rolls is the local favorite from the Lion House. This recipe is the easiest and most fail-proof I’ve ever found. But, I think it’s time I branch out and try some new recipes that might be even more versatile or offer new crusty flavors.
Time for Easy French Bread. Add 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons instant yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk. Let sit for 3 minutes. Add in 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 5 1/2 cups of flour. Mix until combined, then increase speed to knead. Cover bowl and let raise for 15 minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into long, thick loaves. Place onto parchment-lined sheet and cut five to six slits diagonally. Bake at 375 degrees for 23-25 minutes.
Sweet bread can often come in the form of everything from eggy, braided challah, buttery and rich brioche or even dessert rolls like monkey bread for cinnamon rolls. When I am craving a simple slider burger or a perfect leftover roast beef sandwich, I love reaching for that package of Hawaiian rolls. Not only are those rolls the perfect size, they add a perfect sweetness and extra richness to any sandwich or burger.
Hawaiian bread, anyone? Mix 1/4 cup warmed milk (under 110 degrees), 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast. Let sit 5-7 minutes. Mix 2/3 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup crushed
pineapple and 2 beaten eggs
to the yeast mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt evenly over the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding 1/4 cup flour as needed. Let dough raise until double. Form into rolls, let double in size. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.