» Read the related post, "Life is Hard. Eat White Bread."
Yield: 1kg / 2.2 lbs (Adapted from Modernist Bread)
30g Fresh Yeast (10g / 1.25 tbsp Instant Dry Yeast)
415g / 1.75 cups Cold Whole Milk
525g / 3.25 cups Bread Flour
40g / .25 cup Granulated Sugar
8g / 1.25 tbsp Table Salt
- Dissolve the yeast in the cold milk in the bowl of a mixer.
- Add the flour and sugar and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed and it starts to form a cohesive dough.
- Add the salt and continue mixing on medium speed until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth, elastic dough. You should be able to delicately stretch a piece of the dough until it's basically transparent without breaking it (aka Windowpane Test—here's a video).
- Transfer to a bowl or plastic bin that you've oiled lightly, cover with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30 minutes (this step is called Bulk Fermentation).
- Fold the dough over itself in the bowl and allow it to ferment another 30 minutes (1 hour in total).
- In the meantime, lightly oil a loaf pan (a 23 cm x 10cm x 10cm / 9" x 4" x 4" pan is ideal for this quantity of dough) and set it aside.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and, without degassing it totally, form it into a rectangle roughly the length of your loaf pan. Starting from the part furthest away from you, roll the dough up into a loaf shape, press the seam against the work surface to seal it, and put the dough into the prepared pan.
- Lightly oil the top of the loaf with some neutral vegetable oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for about one hour (Final Proof). After about 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 195°C / 385°F with a rack in the lower-middle position.
- Test that the dough is ready by gently pressing it with your finger. If the dough bounces back quickly, it needs more time. When the dimple left by your finger slowly re-fills but not entirely, it's ready to go in the oven.
- Brush with an egg wash (beat one egg with a splash of cold water), score the dough straight down the middle lengthwise with a razor blade or very thin and sharp knife, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, tip out the bread, and return it to the oven placed on a wire rack over a baking sheet for another 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely (maybe not completely, but at least a half hour, OK?), spread with peanut butter, jelly, and all of your sorrows.
- This bread will stay fresh for a couple of days wrapped in plastic at room temperature. It should also freeze pretty well (sliced or unsliced). Once it gets stale, it's still pretty awesome as French Toast, regular toast, croutons, bread pudding, and mini frisbees.