I find great joy in baking bread. Hence my "name" Baking Nana. The grand kids will call me and ask "Are you baking Nana?" Yep - I am baking!
Beware! Yeast is addictive! I buy bread flour 25 pounds at a time for around $7.00. 2 pounds of yeast is $4.00 at Sam's Club or Costco. So for about $11 or $12 you can make loaves and loaves of beautiful bread. You can save a ton of money and eat great bread
too! Besides, I really like knowing what is in my food.
Any bread machine recipe can be done by hand or using a KA mixer.
French Bread with the Kitchen Aid
Also check out the recipe for Fabulous Foccacia my recipe box. Delish!
I do use a Kitchen Aid mixer to handle the kneading but certainly this can be done by hand as well. The one complaint that people have is that their bread is dense. Often this is the result of adding too much flour. Kneading is needed to develop the gluten
in the flour. Working with slightly sticky dough can be tricky and takes a little practice but is worth the effort. Sticky dough and the Kitchen Aid get along great.
Poolish French Bread
The day before baking make the poolish.
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups water
Mix together and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator over night or for up to 3 days.
On baking day remove the poolish and let it come to room temperature. In the bowl of the Kitchen Aid add
All the poolish
1 1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups bread flour (plus you will need another 2 cups, later in the recipe)
1 T Kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp table salt)
2 T Olive Oil
Add all the poolish, yeast, water and 3 cups bread flour and mix well on speed 2, add the salt and knead a bit, add the oil.
Start adding more flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading in between each addition. You will probably use another 2 cups of flour. Knead until the dough is smooth, glossy and stretches well.
Spray a good sized bowl with cooking spray. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Put the dough into the greased bowl, spray the top with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. I place the
bowl in the oven with the light on. Let rise until doubled, about an hour or so. If you poke the dough and it bounces right back, it isn't done rising.
Once doubled turn out on to lightly floured surface and let rest for a few minutes. Gently stretch the dough to slightly de-gas it. Use a sharp knive and cut into two equal pieces. Shape into a ball and using your hands gently turn
the ball to create surface tension across the ball of dough. Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Score the top of the dough with a sharp knive and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size.
Pre Heat oven to 500 degrees.
Beat together one egg white with a little water. Gently brush the risen dough with the egg wash, sprinkle a little kosher salt on the top.
Put the loaf in the hot oven and carefully toss 2 or 3 ice cubes into the bottom on the oven. Close the door, wait a minute, open the door and mist the oven with a little water. Repeat this a couple of times, then reduce the oven
temp to 375 and bake for about 25 minutes.
The internal temp of the bread should be 190 - 200 degrees when done. Move the bread to a cooling rack. Let rest for a least 20 minutes before slicing.