Recipe by Canaan Smith, Oakwood, Ohio
First place, Yeast Breads (White), 2018
Baking temperature: 350º F
Baking time: 90 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup bread flour
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup warm whole milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for buttering bowls and pan
- In a small heavy pot, whisk flour, milk and ½ cup water together until smooth.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened but still pourable, about 10 minutes (it will thicken more as it cools).
- When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot.
- Scrape in to a measuring cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix for a few seconds, just until evenly combined.
- Add egg, milk, and ½ cup starter. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead 5 minutes.
- Add soft butter and knead another 10-12 minutes (it will take a few minutes for the butter to be incorporated), until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit tacky.
- Lightly butter the inside of a bowl. Use your hands to lift dough out of mixer bowl, shape into a ball and place in prepared bowl.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size 40-60 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and use your hands to scoop it out onto a surface.
- Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut dough in half.
- Lightly for each half into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, generously butter a 9” x 5" loaf pan.
- Using a rolling pin, gently roll out one dough ball into a thick oval. (By this time, the dough should be moist and no longer sticky. You probably will need to flour the surface, but you may want to flour the pin.)
- First roll away from your body, then pull in, until the oval is 12 inches long and 6 inches across up and smooth the top with your hands.
- Place the log in the buttered pan, seam side down and crosswise, nestling it near one end of the pan. Repeat with the other dough ball, placing it near the other end of the pan.
- Cover and let rest 30-40 minutes, until the risen dough is peeking over the edge of the pan and the dough logs are meeting in the center. Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until golden brown and puffed, 35-40 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)