Ideas for dinner tonight. Household and kitchen tips, recipes, tweaks. What's worked great, and not so great.
I love baking bread. I love to eat bread even more! Today, in prep for having the family over for Easter dinner tomorrow, I baked some bread. One was experimental, one a variation of some I’ve made lots. One was from scratch, one with my trustee bread machine I pulled out of the closet. I usually do it all by hand, but while the egg bread – the experimental one- was seeming to not work at all, I baked the other loaf in my machine. The egg bread is said to be a little sweet, also good for french toast. The other loaf is a honey wheat bread with ground chia seeds.
The first try of the egg bread, the recipe stated to add sugar and flour to activate the yeast in the warm water. That did not work AT ALL. I used brand new premium high quality yeast. Flat as a pancake, it didn’t bubble at all. The water was in the perfect 110-115 degree range. If the water is too cold it won’t activate, too hot and the yeast will die. (Unless the yeast is added to dry ingredients, the water needs to be 120-130. Anyway, I don’t know why it didn’t work, but I started over and omitted the added sugar and flour during the activation process. It worked. The dough is VERY sticky and soft. Unlike any other yeast bread I’ve made before. I was sure it wasn’t going to work, but I persevered, and although I haven’t tasted it yet, it looks pretty and did rise after all! I’ll let you know how it tastes tomorrow.
Recipe for the Egg Bread
1/3 c. warm water between 110-115 degrees
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 t.) Rapid Rise works too
6 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar (I used Monk-fruit sugar)
2/3 c. milk
2/3 c. Half and half ( I used non fat for both)
6 T. butter
3 eggs, beaten- reserve just about one to use as egg wash prior to baking
In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the warm water. Gently sprinkle yeast packet over the water and set aside until it bubbles, about 5 minutes.
In small saucepan, heat milk and half and half over medium low heat. Add sugar, stir to dissolve. Add butter and when butter is melted, check the temperature. When the temperature is between 110-115, add to the yeast mixture. Start the mixer on a slow setting, add the beaten eggs, reserving enough to use as a wash to the loaf prior to baking.
Begin adding the flour slowly, increasing the speed of the mixer as needed to thoroughly incorporate the flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Mine took quite some time, I added a bit more flour, then finally scraped it out of the bowl, put some flour on the counter and kneaded it to incorporate more flour until it was smooth and elastic. It was a very soft dough, unlike any I have ever experienced. Don’t give up!
Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and place in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. (Mine never really doubled. It seemed to just lay there, but I guess it did rise a bit.)
Place a Silpat silicone baking sheet or parchment on a baking sheet. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter top, divide dough into 3 even pieces. Gently stretch each piece to be about the length of the cookie sheet and place next to each other connecting the top three pieces by squeezing and turning under. Gently braid and connect and turn under the end of the braid. Cover and let rise in a warm place until about doubled, about an hour. (It DID rise this time!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add a bit of water to the reserved egg to make a wash. Gently brush egg mixture over braid. Sprinkle lightly with coarse Kosher salt. Some other possible toppings would be poppy seeds, sliced or slivered nuts such as almonds or pecans.
Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes until the loaf in golden and sounds hollow when you tap on it. Brush with a little butter to give it and even more delicious look. Let it cool slightly before cutting.