basic white sandwich bread aggravation
This morning I departed from my newbie efforts at French loaves at the request of my dear husband, who enjoys same but requested "useful" bread for sandwiches. As we are currently buying a loaf or more a day, I conceded it would be useful and a good experience to learn to make a basic white sandwich bread. So....a look at one of my favourite recipe books produced a recipe for "basic white bread". It's maybe important to say that this recipe book is written by daughters of Alberta, Canada home-steaders, and so includes a lot of "down-home" basic food. It's been a fantastic and extremely reliable cookbook. The bread ingredients are not measured by weight, but as I live in Alberta myself, I would have expected their measurements & directions to be fairly reliable for this elevation.
This is the recipe, to give you an idea what I'm working with. I did follow the directions exactly, even though they are quite different from what I've been doing.
2 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups milk, scalded
6 tbsp sugar
4 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
4 tbsp butter
11 cups flour, approx (I only used 10 total)
Dissolve 2 tsp sugar in lukewarm water, sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 10 min. Scald milk and add 6 tbsp sugar & salt. When dissolved, add 1 cup cold water to bring mixture to lukewarm. Add butter. Measure 10 cups flour, make well in centre. Mix liquid ingredients together and pour into well.
What a mess! Busy mums don't need this waste of time! The bread dough was extremely dry, to the point where it just wouldn't seem to come together at all, so I added an additional cup or so of room-temperature water -- maybe more. This eventually brought the dough to a good consistency, but I can't seem to work it properly. I'm doing it by hand and my limited previous experience with this has went well. This time, the dough doesn't seem to want to re-connect with itself on a knead or fold. This is a gluten problem, right? Is it just something with this type of dough, maybe (i.e. different gluten development than with a French loaf)? I tried folding it, letting it rest for a few minutes and then coming back to it a couple of times. Definitely looks better and is smoother each time, but still won't fold in on itself properly. It's as if it's too dry to do this, but i sure wouldn't have thought so given the consistency. Thoughts?