To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie.
Miguel de Cervantes said, “All sorrows are less with bread.” I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven to lift your spirits, especially on a chilly, rainy day. For those of you who may be reluctant to attempt making it at home, this is a super easy recipe for a wonderful breakfast bread. With the light, airy, texture of an English muffin, it makes the best toast. Be generous in spreading with butter and break open the jam or marmalade and enjoy.
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer.
2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a small sauce pan, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan with a dish towel, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.