Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Julia Child's White Bread

I don't think I've ever made a Julia Child recipe before. I recently read a book, Julie and Julia, in which a young woman in New York City attempts to make and blog each recipe in Julia's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This got me thinking about two things; starting a food blog and looking into the recipes of Julia Child. I accomplished the food blog and looked into some of her recipes but have to admit...I'm not a great cook. I'm a good baker.

I happened upon this recipe on the food blog, breadbasketcase. I'm always willing to try a new bread recipe. While this wasn't one of my most favorite bread recipes it was simple and good.

Classic White Bread
Source: breadbasketcase blog
Yield: Two loafs

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
6-7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
4 tbsp butter, very soft

Combine 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let stand until foamy - about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water, 5 cups of flour and the salt to the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon (or in a mixer), adding the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time, until dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in butter until dough is smooth and not sticky. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue kneading for an additional minute or two, until it is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl to rise until doubled, about 1- 1 1/2 hours.

Butter two 8x4 inch loaf pans and set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in two equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a 9 inch wide x 12 inch tall rectangle, with the short side towards you. Fold one third of the dough down, then fold it down again. Pinch the bottom seam to seal. Your rectangle should be approximately 9x4 now. Turn the seam side up. Fold each end over about 1/2 inch, tuck in any loose ends and pinch to seal. Place the loaf seam side down into a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan. Cover loaf pans lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. Dough will rise above the top of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F. Place loaves in oven and bake for 36-40 minutes. The loaves will be golden and will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when they are done. Remove loaves from pans immediately and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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