The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The PERFECT bread recipe for the beginning baker! Think Wonder Bread!

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

The PERFECT bread recipe for the beginning baker! Think Wonder Bread!

Hi,


First, I want to mention I'm not talented enough to be able to claim I created this recipe.  I found it on another forum and I really don't know who the original author is, but whoever it is, created a WINNER!  This bread has a soft crust and interior (somewhat like store bought white but much tastier with a nicer texture) so for those of you who only want to tackle a crusty bread, this one is not for you.   The crust also does not get very dark, but you could probably mist it with a bit of water if you want it darker.


But, if you're even a little like me in that you desperately want to be successful in making ANY kind of bread, you will LOVE this recipe!  After I struggle for days to get a more complicated recipe to work for me, this one is a RELIEF to work on.  I have never had a failure, even when I threw it together in a hurry.  And EVERYONE here loves it!   My grandson, who never asks for seconds of anything, asked me for a second slice of this tasty bread.  My husband, who is difficult to please to say the least, is very happy when I use it to make his sandwiches to take with him to work in the morning.  He's actually so proud that I can make it that he shares his sandwiches from time to time so his associates can sample it.


This is the recipe:


Combine in the slightly preheated bowl from your stand mixer (you can also do this entirely by hand, but it's a lot more work):


2 cups of 110-112 degree water


1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon instant yeast (a total of 4 teaspoons)


1 tablespoon sugar


Cover and let rise in a warm place for 5 minutes (to create warm place, I put my oven on 350 degrees for about 10 seconds and shut it off)


Add to the yeast mixture:


¼ cup oil


5 cups bread flour (I find the best way to measure flour for this recipe is to scoop it, as recommended by the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  I have tried weighing it--which really should work--and spooning into the measuring cup, as recommended by the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, but with both methods the dough was too slack and I had to add flour.)


2 teaspoons salt


Knead until smooth and elastic.  I use the dough hook to combine it for a couple of minutes (while scraping down the sides to help combine the ingredients) and knead for at least an additional 5 minutes on speed 2.


Place the dough (sometimes you have to aid it with a scraper to release it from the bottom of the mixer bowl as it doesn't seem to hold the ball shape on the hook each and every time) in a greased bowl, turn it, and cover it with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a nonstick coating, such as Pam.


Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-25 minutes.  I use the minimum time for both the first and second rise.  Punch the dough down and divide it into two equal portions.  Then roll each piece into two rectangles that each measure approximately 10" by 14".  Starting from the long end, roll each rectangle up in jelly roll fashion and tuck in the ends slightly.  Pinch the seam together and place each loaf with the seam to the bottom on a greased 12" by 16" (or similar size) cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.  I find the two loaves work fine on one pan.  Diagonally slash each loaf about 3 times with a sharp, floured knife.


Lightly spray the loaves with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise for 20-25 minutes in a warm place.  Since I will have to preheat my oven while these loaves are rising, I cannot let the loaves rise in there and I turn on my toaster oven and leave it on for several minutes.  After I shut if off, I check to see how hot the top has become and layer the appropriate amount of kitchen towels on top of it so that the bottom of the cookie sheet I will be placing on it doesn't get too hot.  I then place the loaves on top of the towels on the toaster oven, making sure they are situated to the back (under the cabinets), where I believe the most heat would be trapped.  Your situation may be different so I am only offering this as a suggestion.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes.  I use the maximum time as this bread does not get a very dark crust.  Let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing--it will still be warm.


ENJOY!  (Bread is pictured below)

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi again!


I made a small mistake in the recipe and tried to edit it but, for some reason, it wouldn't work.  I realized that it may sound like you should make 4 pieces (where I said to roll each piece into two rectangles, but what I really meant was to roll each piece into a rectangle, for a total of two rectangles).  This recipe makes a total of two loaves. Sorry about that!  Genie


P.S.  I should also mention that this bread is easier to keep fresh than any of the other recipes I have tried.  I can keep it for a couple of days without it drying out and don't have to put most of it out for my chickens, like I usually do!  I wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it.  To REALLY bring it back to life, I put it back in the oven at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes.  Even though I don't get a crispy crust the first time around, this really does the trick!

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

next time you "scoop" a cup of flour for this recipe, could you let us know what it weighs? That would help me get started on this. It looks great and your description sound like it would just what my wife likes. I bet it would make a nice hoagie type roll as well.


thanks -- wayne

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Thanks for your interest in my recipe!  I never thought to weigh the cups of flour that I scoop, but I did it three times tonight just to make sure.  The results were astounding--a leveled off cup of scooped flour weighs 5 ¾ ounces.  That's a lot more than the standard weight of 4 ¼ ounces and I now can see why I had to add additional flour when measuring by the other methods.  Before I scoop the flour, I fluff it up with a spoon so it won't be packed too tightly.  Out of curiosity, I scooped the first cup of flour without fluffing it up and the weight was over 6 ounces for one level cup.  But that is not how I usually do it, so the 5 ¾ ounces is closer to being correct.  This "scooping" is hardly a science, so you might want to start with a little less and add more as needed.  I believe the measuring inaccuracies are a result of this recipe being developed by an amateur home baker, who must have had their own methods of measuring.


This recipe is very forgiving and I think that if you add more flour during the kneading, it shouldn't matter at all.  I have done it without any bad results.  And I know I have made the bread without enough flour (dough was kind of sticky and it shouldn't be) and it still came out good.  But even if it is sticky, the texture improves greatly after the first rise.  It almost seems to me this recipe just can't be ruined!


And, yes, I believe hoagie rolls would turn out just wonderful.  As it is, when I make my husband's sandwiches with it, I cut a piece off and slice it from the side just as I would with a hoagie. Well, good luck, enjoy, and, if you have a chance, let me know how you make out!  Genie

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I made these by following your recipe quite closely. I weighed each of the ingredients as I added them. I reserved some of the flour and didn't use it all. Here is what I got:



  • 2 cups of 110-112 degree water (472 grams)

  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon instant yeast (15 grams)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar (15 grams)

  • ¼ cup oil (50 grams canola oil)

  • 5+ cups bread flour (765 grams)

  • 2 teaspoons salt (14 grams)


I also added 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten. For the flour I started with your 5 cups at 5.75 ounces each which gave me 815 grams, but only used the 765 noted above. I think I could get by with a little less, but this sure made a nice soft crumb. The other change I made was to use an egg wash since you mentioned the crust wasn't very dark and I felt like it would look nicer being a little browner. The pictures show the breads ready to go into the oven, nearly dripping with the egg wash as well as how nicely browned they were. You will also notice I made one loaf (about 675 grams of dough), 4 hot dog/brat buns at 75 grams, and a couple each of knotted rolls at 75 and 100 grams. I put a few poppy and sesame seeds on the knotted rolls. I think they will make nice turkey sandwiches tomorrow!


Pefect Beginner with egg wash


And just out of the oven.


Perfect Beginner just out of the oven


Thanks for the info,


wayne


(And yes, I know the seam is up on one of the hot dog/brat buns. I have no idea how I did that, but figured it was better not to mess with it after the 2nd rise.)


 


 

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi Wayne,


Actually, it looks better than mine!  Did you use the whole egg or just the white?  Did you add any water to the egg?  I'd like to try what you did and see how it comes out for me. 


I wouldn't have messed with it either after the second rise.  And I found vital wheat gluten never hurts, I also use it from time to time.


I'm glad to hear you had luck with the recipe and enjoy those turkey sandwiches tomorrow!  Genie

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE


Did you use the whole egg or just the white? Did you add any water to the egg?



I actually used 1/2 tablespoon of a generic "egg beaters" product (which has real egg whites, i guess) and 1/2 tablespoon of milk (reconstitued non-fat powdered milk).


We are at home now but since I do a lot a baking while we travel on our boat I am always looking for products that can substitute for things that take up a lot of refrigerator/freezer space and/or don't keep for very long (like eggs and milk). That is why I started baking bread in the first place. When we go to the Bahamas there is no way to carry enough bread for three people for months.


We had half the big loaf for dinner with the "Homemade" Mexican soup that my wife saw in Parade magazine from Julie Bowen. See link here.


The bread has a very soft crust and crumb. I often see people asking for soft "wonder" type breads. They should try this one. Have you ever made it in a loaf pan and sliced like a sandwich bread?


thanks again, wayne

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi Wayne,


Yes, I think you got it just right!  That's why, in my description, I compared it to store bought white, only better. 


To attract the people that are actually looking for such a bread, I changed the title of my post to include Wonder Bread.


No, I have never tried it in a loaf pan.  If you do, please let me know how it turns out, what size pans you used, and at what temperature and for how long you baked it.


Actually, I don't bake because I have such an interesting lifestyle, but because I spend an awful lot of time at home caring for my 88 year old mom.  I don't like to leave her alone for long periods of time, so I keep myself busy!


Happy baking!  Genie

BettyR's picture
BettyR

It's been making the rounds on the internet for several years and it always comes out great. It also makes really good hamburger and hot dog buns.

ronhol's picture
ronhol

I'm a novice baker, just started earlier this year with the no knead ABI5 system, and have just begun graduating to recipes that require kneading.


This was the first loaf I've made that my wife loved! She has TMJ, and cannot handle much chewiness, so most of my favorite breads don't appeal to her, so I was really pleased that she loved this one.


I made up some egg salad, and had open faced egg salad sandwiches, and it was terrific!


Wayne, thanks for the conversions and suggestions, (I too weigh everything now, except for the yeast), but for some reason, my loaves barely browned, even with the egg wash.


I think next time I need to put them higher in the oven.


Your loaves are beautiful!


I like the rolls too, I plan on playing with this recipe some more in the future.


I like that you can be done in less than 3 hours, start to table.


Does anyone know what the interior temp is when you pull it from the oven?


Mine was slightly under 200, but with my wetter breads, I usually shoot for 210 or higher.


I'm going to try cinnamon rolls with this recipe, I'll bet they are good.


What kind of flour are you guys using, I used Gold Medal Better 4 Bread, unbleached un bromated.

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi,


Glad to hear you're enjoying the recipe!  I really understand about the TMJ as I've had nearly constant jaw pain for about 21 years and have suspected that it could be TMJ (doctors and dentists have acted as they think I'm imagining things and haven't offered a diagnosis of any kind, so I'm getting no help there) and I also try to stay away from chewy foods.


About the cinnamon rolls, I'm sure they would be great.  I made them once, but my filling wasn't right and I haven't attempted to do it again, even though I have a new recipe for the filling.  The first time, the filling melted and went down to the bottom of the pan and everything stuck something awful!  I had to scrape the rolls out of the pan and throw them in the trash.  But I found a filling recipe now that I think will work.  It consists of :


¾ cup of packed brown sugar
½ cup of cold butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup flour


The last time, I didn't use any flour and I think that's why I had a mess.  I also read that after you roll out the dough, you should brush it with milk, as the protein in the milk acts as a glue to hold the filling in place.  As for the filling, combine all ingredients with a pastry blender, brush the dough with milk, and spread the filling evenly over the dough before rolling it back up.  I like large buns, so I think I would cut each loaf into 6 pieces, for a total of 12 buns, place them in a greased 9" by 13" pan, let them rise the second time, and bake them the same as the bread at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, perhaps a bit longer if they don't brown.  I really can't remember what I did the first time, as I was really upset about how they turned out.


I would top the cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese icing/frosting.  This is the one I have used for other things but it does make a lot and you might want to downsize it a bit:


1 eight ounce package softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon milk


I beat all the ingredients together with my stand mixer using the whisk until creamy.  This is a simple to make, yet delicious topping for the cinnamon rolls.  I also use it for spice cake, applesauce cake, and banana cake.


I am seriously considering making pizza with this dough, but I like it very thin and I know I will have to roll it really thin as I experience a lot of "oven spring" when I make this bread.   But I think it's worth a try, although I know the crust won't be crisp.  I do like a crisp crust but the thinness is of more importance to me.


Unfortunately, I didn't check the temperature of the bread, I just baked it the maximum amount of time and, so far, it has turned out well.  I did make two loaves this morning but I made them for my husband's friends and I didn't want to give either of them a loaf with a hole in it from the thermometer.


I use King Arthur Bread Flour, which is also unbleached and unbromated.  I have heard that King Arthur is better than other brands, but I really can't say for sure as I haven't used anything else.


So good luck and if you make those cinnamon rolls, I'd like to hear about them!  Genie

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi again,


I just wanted to add that if you're not too crazy for cream cheese, don't use the frosting I suggested because you can really taste the cream cheese--it's just that I love it, I can eat it right out of the package!


On another note, my husband refuses to even try cream cheese but since I haven't told him what's in the frosting, he loves it!  ;-)


Enjoy!  Genie

blamejane's picture
blamejane

Wow, just looking at that bread makes me want to try it! 

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi,


Geez, I went crazy yesterday morning to get those two loaves of bread ready for my husband's friends.  Then he felt a bit "under the weather", and wasn't able to deliver them and I just didn't have the time.  So now I had two loaves of bread I wasn't planning on! 


One we almost finished already (had it with soup and made sandwiches) but the second was just too much for us to eat while it was still fresh.  So I decided to try something new!  I made garlic and cheese bread out of the second loaf, cut it in two, and wrapped the two halves in foil, put them in plastic FoodSaver bags, and then vacuumed them with the pulse feature on my FoodSaver (so they wouldn't get crushed), and tucked them in the freezer.


This time, I used more flour (my KitchenAid didn't like that so I don't think I'll be doing that again), and they rose a lot!  You can see in the picture how the side was pulling apart.  They turned out a little lighter (I didn't brush them with egg or anything like that as I was in a BIG hurry) but not as light as the picture would lead you to believe.


Even though I prefer thin, crispy pizza, I am now entertaining the idea of making a Sicilian style pie with the dough (the rest of my family would be delighted--if it turns out okay, that is) as I don't think it would be that chewy, which would make me very happy.


Just thought I'd keep you up to date!  Genie


berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

This has the ease of Bernard Clayton's Cuban bread - a family favorite. And it's one of his beginner bread recipes. Big bonus is how FAST it is to make and it's fat free. Takes a few minutes to get the ingredients together, knead for 8 or so minutes, rising is supposedly 30 minutes, but I usually need closer to an hour, and then it goes into the cold oven and rises in the oven and makes delicious bread.


Found it on the web:


http://www.fatfree.com/recipes/breads-yeast/cuban-bread


 


Here's a picture I took once. Can look better, but it's great for sandwiches too. (I use bread flour):


ronhol's picture
ronhol

I made a batch today, decent bread. Love the time factor, about 2 hours!


It reminds me more of my grocery in store Italian than the Wonder white recipe of the OP here.


It's slightly chewier and more of a yeast flavor, with a thicker crust.


I liked the cuban with butter, and the wonder toasted, it makes great toast.


I'm going to try baking the wonder white in a loaf pan to obtain a better shape for the toaster.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I had put the hot dog buns that I made in the freezer and we used them last night for brats. The wife said they were my best yet. (I have made several that were never soft and light enough).


The only thing I will change for the next batch is to make them slightly smaller, maybe will try 65 grams instead of 75.


thanks again for the great recipe. Now I am worried that the first time was a fluke!


wayne

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi again,


I made this bread again today (seems it has become a favorite around here) and I took the white of one egg and beat in one teaspoon of water to use for a glaze.  The crust did turn out a little browner and the slightest bit chewy, too.  However, for all intents and purposes, this is still a very soft bread!


My next try...cinnamon rolls!  Genie


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Those look fantastic.


wayne

crazyknitter's picture
crazyknitter

beautiful breads!!  Thanks for posting it here.

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

I'm baking this right now.  Thanks so much for posting this recipe.  i think my boys are going to love it!


Margie

Gawker's picture
Gawker

TAG for future reference!!! (Easier than trying to hunt it down again later)


I SO want to try this because I feel like I need a sandwich loaf type recipe to play with...seems a bit silly to continue to buy Mrs Bairds when I'm deliberately trying to learn to make great home made bread right?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

At the bottom of the original post, click on the link "add to favorites". A link to such threads will be added to your "my account" information page.

Gawker's picture
Gawker

OH I'm sorry didn't know about that feature but will sure use it in the future...does it still count that I think it's a great looking recipe? Still trying to get myself accustomed the TFL etiquette so I hope everyone can excuse the occasion foul on my part.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

No issues here. Just wanted to let you know. It was a while before I knew, even though a couple of links were showing on my account page. I didn't understand, at the time, what was done to put them there.


Welcome.