Here’s a recipe for white bread, adapted from Sweet y Salado.
- 1½ cup warm distilled water (100ºF – 110ºF)
- 1 packet of active dry yeast or 1/3 cake of fresh yeast
- ¼ tsp white granulated sugar
- 4 cups white flour
- 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
Put the yeast and quarter teaspoon of sugar in a bowl with the warm, distilled water. Not “japanese bath hot” but like your kid’s forehead if he has a fever. Don’t use water with chlorine because chlorine kills living things, and yeast is alive. Let the stuff in the bowl foam up while you put all the dry stuff–the flour, the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the teaspoon and half of salt in a BIG bowl and stir it with a fork. Mix it up well, like you mean it. This part requires effort.
Dig a dimple in the dry stuff and pour the water/yeast mix in there. Mix it all up with your hands. You’re gonna feel like you need to add water DO NOT DO THIS. In fact, you probably will need to add flour. Grab that lump of slimy, sticky goo and make it your…um….whatever. Mix it until the dry stuff and the liquid are very, very combined. Add a little flour, as needed, until you get a fairly “dry” lump of dough that will not stick to every damn thing in the kitchen.
So I hope you have a nice clear, clean space to work on that dough? “A breadboard” is a poor substitue for a big chunk of clean counter, free of baby puke and insect parts.
Take the dough chunk out of the bowl. Sprinkle flour around neatly but with purpose. The idea of all this work is to make sure that everything is nice and tight. No sloppy-ass half-mixed dough. You’re gonna go in there and make that thing your property.
The “rhythm” for “kneading” is like folding the steel in a katana. You fold and press it together until you have fifty million layers in the dough. But this isn’t filo dough. You will not be able to see these layers. You should not worry about them. But when you fold the dough in two, and press it down with a vengance, and fold and press and fold and press and do this for eight minutes–you get a number of layers equal to the number of people who are gonna get the coronavirus and all that good stuff.
Four billion layers.
Still, very far short of the amount of money the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank can “boink” into existence with the press of a laptop key.
So think about that.
Make that ball of dough into a something that resembles a baby’s head. Shape it that same way you shape a baby’s head due to the mashing taken by the head due to having to pull a hippo through a keyhole, if you know what I’m sayin’…
Clean and dry the bowl you mixed the dough in. Sprinkle some flour in there and *boink* the dough into the bowl. Sprinkle flour on top of it and cover it with plastic wrap like you mean it. Seal it tight. Don’t be a damned baby and tangle up the plastic wrap. Don’t use a damp cloth. “Damp” is not a word you need to know in the kitchen. That’s how we get yeast infections.
Let that dough rise for an hour. It will get warm and begin to resemble a baby’s head more and more. Once it has risen to be twice the size and when it started out, you take the baby’s head out of the bowl BUT DO NOT PUNCH IT. Punching that thing indicates that you need a date night and you need to get away from the kids and how did I get myself into this mess in the first place?
No punching the baby’s head.
Instead, massage that bad-boy, squeeze it a little until you’re pretty confident that it’s not full of huge air bubbles. Shape it, gently, into something abou the size of your breadpan (9 by 5 inch, about) and then, grab some spray-on oil and give the breadpan a shot of oil, then put the “loaf” in the pan. Cover it sorta with some plastic wrap. Cover it “loosely” which means you can release your inner slob for a minute.
Turn on the oven to about 350 F. Let the loaf rise for about an hour, or until it’s about “an inch and a half” above the top of the breadpan.
Put the loaf in the oven and bake it for thirty minutes and check to see what it looks like. I’d give it another ten minutes of baking, if I were you.
Pull it out, dump it out, put the loaf on a “cooling rack” of some kind and let it cool.
You need instructions at this point you are lame.
Notice that I omitted all the fat from the original recipe and I omitted the milk. If a milky, oily bread appeals to you, then go to the Sweet y Salado website and go crazy.
Bread making. It’s not that hard. It’s just one more thing where people who do it want to inflate it into some big deal. You don’t need a machine. You need a fork and a bowl. If you are tempted to criticize my use of sugar in this recipe then you need to haul your ass over to Britmodeller and start arguing about RAF paint colors. They’d love you.
Finally, yeast is getting hard to find. Good luck on that one. Otherwise, if you can get some yeast, learn to make bread. Beat the system.