-2 cups WARM WATER
-1 tbsp DRY YEAST
-6+cups ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
-1/4 cup MILK (to brush your loaves)
…Add the Water, Milk, Sugar and Yeast into your mixer bowl and whisk them together until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Can be made without milk…Although it seems to give the crust better color.
…Then, add the Flour and Salt to you yeast mixture, and start mixing. Mix for 3-5 minutes. Dough texture should be a little sticky but firm.
I use a regular kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook attachment. Start on low so your flour doesn’t end up everywhere, and gradually turn up the speed when you see there is no more loose flour. Most kitchen aid’s tell you no to go past level 3 on you mixer with heavier doughs, so I would listen to them.
After the dough is mixed I place it on a lightly floured table and start to gold and knead for 5-10 minutes…adding a little flour when the dough starts to stick. The more you knead your dough, the lighter your loaf will be resulting in bigger air pockets inside the bread.
Place your dough back into your mixer bowl and cover with a clean lint free cloth. Let rise for an hour or more till the dough has doubled and you start to see little bubbles forming on the surface of the dough. For a deeper flavor allow to rise over night in the refrigerator. You can also store the dough at this point in the fridge with a loosely covered container for up to a week, possibly longer if you don’t use any milk in your recipe.
At this point I usually get my baking trays ready. I use semolina to powder the trays so that the bread doesn’t stick, this also adds a nice layer of crunch to the bottom crust.
Now it’s time to form the loaves, but It takes a little time to get comfortable working with dough. Just keep your working area and your hands lightly floured and start by folding a small grapefruit size piece of dough around itself to make a ball shape. Then roll the ball firmly with the cup of your hand in a circular motion on your table. It’s best to use a spot on your table with no flour…a little friction on the table makes the ball shape better. You can stop there and just bake them off as dinner rolls or roll them out as I did.
Once you have them all laid out on your tray, ( make sure to leave a good 3 inch gap between each loaf so they don’t join together during the proof ) grab your brush and a 1/4 cup of milk and lightly brush the tops of the loaves. This is where I get a little anxious and I wanna just throw them in the oven. But the longer the bread proofs ( second rise ) the lighter and better your bread will come out. I’d say about 2 hours is a good amount of time. Right before you pop them in the oven grab a serrated edge knife ( the rounded edge ones work best…the pointier the edge on the knife the more it seems to pull the dough making uneven cuts ) and make 3 semi-deep slashes on the top crust of the bread.
They’re now ready to go into the pre-heated oven at 375-400 F and bake till golden brown…normally around 30-40 minutes.