Sunday, May 11, 2014

Favorite bread dough

The start of finals week also usually means a return to baking for least it's a productive way to avoid schoolwork! This is a simple, versatile dough that I've returned to again and again.

Like I said, it's a simple ingredient list: flour, water, yeast, salt, oil.

I've used whey instead of water when I've had it, which produced a slightly sweeter bread. For this batch, I used 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup Vanilla Breeze Almond Milk. 

This recipe makes a lot of dough! I divided it into three parts, to use in cinnamon rolls, pesto bread, and homemade hot pockets. Recipes coming soon!

It was a beautiful day, so I went for a run while the dough was rising! Taking an acceptable selfie was the hardest part! It was the first day of the year that I ran in shorts, rather than pants or leggings. Let's call this summer, shall we?

Basic Bread Dough 
2 cups water
1/2 cup almond milk (or 2 1/2 cups liquid)
1 1/2 tbsp yeast (2 packets)
7 cups flour, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Heat the water and milk together in the microwave for about 45 seconds, until warm but not hot to the touch. Add the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You should see a little bit of foaming and some bubbles -- if not, your yeast was too old and you should start over.
Mix the salt into the 6 1/2 cups flour, then add the yeast/water mixture and the olive oil. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. This dough is pretty wet/sticky, so I usually end up adding about another 1/2 cup of flour as I'm kneading it.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, grease a bowl (usually I use the same mixing bowl) and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
Take the dough out and knead it a few times to punch it down.
At this point, you can use the dough for several different recipes. If you just wanted to bake normal loaves of bread, follow the instructions below.

Preheat oven to 425. Divide into four sections and shape each section into a loaf. Place on a greased cookie sheet (you should be able to fit two loaves per cookie sheet). Allow to rise for another 30 minutes, then bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly brown.

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