Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Soft bread (no kneading involved at all)

OK once you make this bread you will never buy store bread again! SOOOO easy and so good!! My friend got this from a bread book! Looks like a lot of steps but honestly it only takes about 10 minutes to make

3 c. warm water
1 & 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, melted (plus additional for brushing the top crust)
7 cups flour

Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and melted butter with the water in a 5 qt bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container. Mix in the flour with your stand mixer, just til all the ingredients are combined--you don't need to knead it. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temp until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours. Refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours (it is MUCH easier to handle when it's been refrigerated!!!), keeping it covered, but not airtight. Dough can remain in fridge for up to 7 days.

On baking day, lightly grease a non-stick loaf pan with butter (it will stick to any other kind of pan, so use non-stick pans and make sure you put a thin coating of oil or butter on it so you don't have any problems). Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a cantaloupe-size piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides. Elongate the ball into an oval. Drop the dough into the prepared pan. You want to fill the pan slightly more than half full. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top, using the tip of a sharp knife. Brush the top surface with melted butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread near the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing, or it will be nearly impossible to achieve reasonable sandwich slices.

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