Loyal and longtime readers will know that I sometimes get on a kick and become determined to try new recipes or dishes until I get as close to perfection as I deem possible.
When I was in NY, the obsession was chicken pitas, and that search ended at Ali Baba, a restaurant which may or may not still exist (I hope it does!). After that, I became infatuated with apple cakes, trying all sorts of techniques, pans, glazes, and varieties of apple. I don't think I ever came to a conclusion for that endeavor, though the apple dapple cake is pretty darn amazing (and due for a refresher post!).
Lately, I've been in bread mode, seeking to find the easiest and best white sandwich loaf. This buttermilk bread was a long-time favorite, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, it sometimes randomly turns out dry and flat. Baker's error, to be sure, but annoying all the same. From there, I went to a basic white bread. It's good, but even though I made it several times, I always thought it was missing something. We really liked this potato bread, but sometimes I don't want to deal with any extra trouble, minimal though it may be.
I don't know if I'm ready to call this bread the very best white bread, but it's pretty darn tasty. It uses butter and an egg, a combination I hadn't yet tried, and the resulting loaves are extremely soft and fluffy and slightly dense on the inside, and with a very discernible and firm crust that helps hold everything together. The flavor is nice too--not too sweet, and actually kind of rich. It's the kind of bread I can rip apart and eat without a drop of anything on it...but toasted with butter is pretty fantastic too.
New Favorite White Bread
Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf (and can easily be doubled!)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (110-120 degrees F)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) melted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4-1/3 cup (30-40 grams) all-purpose flour
Add the water, yeast, and teaspoon of sugar to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine and leave at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes until doubled in volume.
Add 3 cups of flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
Pour in the yeast mixture, then add the egg, remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, and milk.
Begin kneading, slowly adding the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft and elastic ball.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
When the dough has risen, punch it down and shape it into a log. Place it into a 9x5 greased loaf pan, cover, and let rest again at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the bread for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool slightly in the pan before removing it and completely before slicing it.