Tricks for Amish White Bread
I have been making yeast dough for about 40 years. My wife and I had 4 children and when they were growing up I would whip up a couple of loaves of french bread on a fairly regular basis. Recently, in honor of Julia Child's 100 year anniversary, I found her french bread recipe rewritten for instant yeast. I am a retired mechanical engineer and for a fair part of my proffessional life I was the chief engineer in very large processing factories. I was exposed to a great deal of technology and I continue to learn about breads. Now days I'll usually bake 1-2 loaves of Amish White bread every week. We have a number of people who like to get a free loaf. It costs me about 20 cents to make a loaf.
We bought a new Hobart N-50 mixer after my first Kitchenaide broke and the next Kitchenaide vibrated of the counter and broke hitting the floor. We still have an older Kitchenaide but I don't use either mixer when making french bread or Amish White Bread. I use an inexpensive 11 cup Cuisinart food processor. Some of the tricks I've learned over the years can help anyone wanting to make cookbook picture loaves.
1. Buy an inexpensive infrared thermometer. The one I use was built for more technical reasons but you don't need to have emisivity settings on yours.
2. Get a bread pal for slicing your loaves. It comes in the enhanced package with a great bread knife and bags that will hold an entire loaf of Amish White Bread.
3. Don't slice the bread until it has cooled and preferably been refrigerated and then only cut what you need.
4. Salt and sugar are curing agents and too much of either will kill your yeast.
5. Buy or have a friend buy you the 2 1 pound vacuum packed packages of yeast from Sam's Club. I just checked the price online and it was $4.74 without tax for the two 1 pound packages.
6. There are 16 tablespoons to the cup and if you seal it properly in a ziplock gallon bag it will last a very long time in the fridge.
7. The Amish White Bread recipe I use calls for 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of sugar.
8. put 1/2 cup of filtered water in one plastic glass with the 1/3 cup of sugar.
9. put the other 1/2 cup of filtered water in another plastic glass.
10. If your yeast has been opened and is refrigerated follow the next set of instructions (using food processor)
10a. Put the sugar water in the microwave for about 45 seconds and mix thoroughly. The temperature should be around 143F
10b. Put about about 1-1/2 cups of flour in your 11 cup food processor or stand mixer and pour all of the sugar water in. Use the chopping blade or regular mixing beater to blend with a tablespoon of oil and a half tablespoon of salt.
10c. Put a half tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of flour in the other 1/2 cup of water and microwave for about 23 seconds. Shoot the temp. With your IR gun to make sure it is less than 120F but greater than 115F.
10D. Add the cold 1 tablespoon of yeast and mix quickly.
10E. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the sponge and pour all of the yeast mix in and quickly mix with the chopping blade or beater.
11. Now it's time for the kneading hook or kneading blade.
12. Add flour as needed but keep it on the moist side.
13. Hand knead when the dough is still on the sticky side but not right.
14. Spray your mixing bowl with oil and put the lump of dough in and hand knead a bit so that the dough is oily on the outside.
15. Get you oven up to about 100F spray a bit of water on the lump and cover with a wet tea towel. Let rise for 50 minutes
16. Use a clay bread pan that is at least 9"X51/4"
17. after the 50 minute rise take bowl out and hand knead. Then with both hands roll to let bottom half sag then reverse and let the other end sag. Do this until the dough is heavy in the center and long enough to fit lengthwise in the bread pan.
18. Hand form to a standard loaf shape and spray oil around the edges of the pan.
19. Spray a little water on top of dough and put in 100F oven to rise for 50 minutes.
20 remove and set oven to 350F
21 as soon as oven reaches 350 put pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes