recommendations for everyday yeast breads
since last summer, i've been making the household bread rather than buying it. i know it sounds labor intensive but it's not, and in this house homemade bread has proven itself far superior to the commercial stuff.
our favorite breads include pain au levain and dried cherry with toasted pecans, both loaves are made from a natural starter. i've also been making cook's illustrated's rustic italian and their american sandwich bread. and the last regular loaf is a golden raisin loaf out of janet fletcher's cookbook, the cheese course (which by the way is a fabulous little book!). i've been rotating between these 5 loaves and would love to incorporate some new ones.
i have all the top bread cookbooks but they're so loaded with recipes, i can't decide which one to try first. does anyone have any yeast bread recipes they'd recommend for everyday use? everyday use in my book means that the bread qualifies for maybe 2 or more of these purposes: toast, paninis, untoasted sandwiches, etc. you know, the kind of bread that's helpful and yummy to have around the house.
thank you in advance.
I commend you! I make almost all of our bread, too, and I have yet to find a substitute for homebaked bread (and I live in San Francisco where good bakery bread is readily available). It's taken me a long time to find really good, reliable breads that I can make over and over.
Anne Willan's Perfect Breads (in paperback -- also called Look and Cook Perfect Breads or Look and Cook Classic Breads -- all the same exact cookbook) is the definitive for me. Not only are the books beautiful with a zillion photos for each recipe, but the recipes are EXCELLENT.
Her Split-Top white bread is without a doubt the most delicious white bread I've ever eaten, whether made by me or someone else or purchased. It's so good you want to eat it plain, unbuttered and untoasted, by itself. Yes, it's that good. The texture is perfection -- close textured and soft-yet-firm, not gummy. Gosh it's good. It's slightly more labor intensive than the average white bread, but it is well worth it. Be sure to get real 8x4 (not 8 1/2x 4 1/2) inch loaf tins for this recipe, the other ones are too big. Bridge Kitchenware.com sells them.
Her wholemeal (wholewheat) is excellent. This is the everyday bread in our house. It's great for almost every application, especially toast and more rustic sandwiches. Her suggestion for serving it with cold roast beef and horseradish sauce I used for a casual lunch I had at our house, and my guests acted as if I'd served them caviar on golden plates. Very delicious.
I'd been using the Fanny Farmer Baking Book baguette recipe for years. It's darn good and chewy, but the most flavorful one I've made is Anne Willans.
I use her little book as my first stop for breads. I only venture to other sources if she doesn't have a recipe for what I want to make.
I'd post recipes but I've had some posts pulled because I think the moderators were concerned about copyright infringements.
All her Perfect and Look and Cook cookbooks are good, but they are sometimes hard to find. When you find a good one at a good price, snap it up. Here's one below.
Good luck --I would love to hear if you use her cookbooks and what you thought.
I got this off of Epicurious. I'd recommend doing it w/ 2 tsp (or 1 packet) of yeast, and using 2 tsp. salt. I also cook with a pan of water in the oven to make the crust a bit softer. I've found that this bread doesn't require too much time in kneading to get it smooth and elastic- 6 mins. or so. I make two smaller loaves with it, and this bread has been the best of my breadmaking efforts thus far!
The relatively large amount of salt in this bread is the secret to a full-flavored baguette.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (105]115 F)
4 to 41/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups flour until combined. Stir in salt and 2 cups of remaining flour until mixture forms a stiff dough. On a lightly floured surface knead dough with lightly floured hands 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, kneading in enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour to keep dough from sticking. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled deep bowl, turning to coat with oil, and let rise, bowl covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Punch down dough and form into a long slender loaf about 21 inches long and 3 inches wide. Put loaf diagonally on a lightly greased large or 17- by 14-inch baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes. (Baguette may be made up to this point 4 hours ahead and chilled.)
Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on loaf with a sharp knife and lightly brush top with cool water. Bake loaf in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until golden, and transfer to a rack to cool.
Makes 1 baguette.
Sugar & Spice; Barbara Bruesch, Rockford IL