17-6: Best Ever White Bread

Here’s a really simple and easy white bread recipe if you find yourself in need or want of fresh white bread. 17-6: Best Ever White Bread doesn’t have a lot to it, but if you want to use it for something like 1-13: Crusty Toast with Mushrooms, it works really well.

I made this particular recipe once before, a little under a year ago according to the red Sharpie notes on the card. I was working on this project then, but had taken a bit of a break at that point. I had been making a lot of bread at the restaurant at this point and was doing a bit of practice at home using what I had learned.

I 86’d durum wheat flour both the first time and this time as well. I have enough different kinds of flour lying around from various projects, I don’t need another. Estimate needing about 7-9 cups of all-purpose flour in total (even more than the 5 I noted here the first time) to get it to the right consistency.

Ingredients. There’s really not a lot to this bread recipe. The ones I was making for the restaurant (and still make from time to time at home, in smaller amounts) included milk, oil, some other ingredients, as well as a biga made the day before to start it. Definitely a bit more advanced than this one, but this one worked in a pinch (I needed the bread the same day for 1-13: Crusty Toast with Mushrooms)

Yeast dissolving in warm water.

After a bit of stirring to mix it up.

First round of flour along with the salt added in to the water/yeast.

Third round of adding flour into the mixture. It’s better to mix it in slowly and consistently–it just takes practice to know when it’s got enough flour in it.

Squirrel that was watching me make bread through the kitchen window.

8-9 cups of flour later, it’s finally right. Covered the bowl with a dry kitchen towel, and set it on top of the fridge to proof.

40 minutes later. Same bowl, same dough–much larger.

After punching it down and rolling it around on the floured counter.

Cut the dough in two with my bench scraper.

Split one of the halves again and made two longer loaves from it. I made the other half into a round loaf to be given as a gift. I didn’t have a lame to cut the tops with (they suggest cutting them before the second proof–I was taught to cut after the second proof, and I think the latter works better), so I used a relatively dull non-serrated steak knife.

After the second proof. I used parchment paper instead of greasing the sheets and chose to spray water with a squeeze bottle into the oven rather than brushing the loaves. Hey, I can only resist for so long, and I needed these loaves to turn out well.

Blurry-as-hell picture of me squeezing the water into the oven before closing the door. It creates steam in the oven (same as brushing the loaves with water), which creates the nice outside on the bread. The oven doesn’t love this method, but thankfully I don’t make that much bread.

After the first rotation (another mod: split the cooking time in half and rotate the pans 180° halfway through). Rotating gives the bread even browning on both sides, because most ovens cook unevenly.

After baking. I probably could have even let them go another few minutes (this was 2 sets of 10 minutes each, about 20 minutes total), but the bottoms looked good enough.

Bread stack. They look pretty good..there’s a bit of stretching on the sides, which more water/humidity in the oven or more fat/moisture in the dough could have helped out. Still looks mighty delicious.

Sliced bread shot. These were cut for 1-13: Crusty Toast with Mushrooms, but there are plenty of other Simply Delicious recipes that use white bread, if you’re interested in taking it further than just some easy bread to have around the house.

Grade: A-