White Loaves: Plain and Fancy

For me, the most gratifying thing to bake is bread.  Oh, I love to bake cookies, cakes, and pies, but nothing makes me as proud as baking my own bread.  I am so proud of my bread and it is so treasured by those in my house, that it is rarely shared.  If I offer you a piece of my homemade bread, you are either A) a part of my family or framily or B) one of my dearest friends or you could also be C) in the right place at the right time with me in a good mood.

I was excited when the first Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was the white bread.  It’s been years since I have made this recipe.  I’ve made lots of white bread recipes since, but I don’t clearly remember making this one, though I am absolutely certain I have made it some time.  All in all, it’s a straightforward recipe, except for one step that I did not expect: after mixing up the dough, you are instructed to knead in some butter.  I am familiar with doing this in eggy breads, especially of the brioche variety, but in plain white sandwich bread, I thought it interesting that the butter would be kneaded in at the end instead of mixed in at the beginning.  Butter can coat flour particles, which can also inhibit the dough from forming those nice glutinous strands that we are all familiar with in yummy bread.  So, adding in the butter after the dough is all mixed up helps the dough reach its full glutinous potential.  It’s supposed to make a difference in the final texture of the bread.  At least, that’s my guess based on what I know about bread making.

It was a little tricky.  My dough slipped around the bowl for quite awhile before all the butter was incorporated.   You can see a big glob of butter in the bowl in this photo.

After about 8 minutes, though, my dough smoothed out and looked great.  The rise times were spot on.  You can see before and after photos of the first proofing below.

This is a great recipe because it just takes up one morning or afternoon.  It’s uncomplicated and, while not exactly instantly gratifying, it is almost as close as you can get in bread baking.  It also makes two loaves, which is great, because you can have one plain, and experiment with the other one, like I did.

The usual additions (raisins, cinnamon, cheese) all seemed a bit run of the mill to me, but I So wanted to do something different with the second loaf.  Then, I remembered a recipe that used apple butter as a swirl and Ding!  My internal light bulb went off.  I dashed down to basement larder and picked up a jar of Cherry Vanilla Grapefruit Jam that I made over the summer.  I would make a Jam swirl bread.  It would be a new way to eat bread with jam!

It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven.

And it tasted good too, though, next time I think I will bake the loaf a few minutes longer.  The middle few slices felt a tad doughy around the jam in the middle, but no one complained.  It is also really good toasted with some butter on it.

If you want to try making this bread yourself, the recipe is posted here.  If you are new to bread making, this is the perfect first loaf to try.

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Posted on February 7, 2012, in Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I think they both looks fabulous. The bread is fantastic and wish I could taste the cherry swirl!

  2. Your bread looks terrific! Great idea to put the jam in the middle! I made cinnamon rolls with the 2nd half of mine.

    Sounds like we’re compadres – we must spend a lot of time doing the same kinds of things! (though I never end up blogging about crafting). I’m excited to see what else you end up with!

  3. So beautiful and creative! I agree that this was a great recipe for our start.

  4. That jam sounds great. Especially on a warm slice of fresh bread…

  5. Cherry Vanilla Grapefruit Jam! Oh my….it sounds terrific, and perhaps the makings of an exotic cocktail. Great looking loaves of bread.

  6. What a great idea to make your own addition! I wish I had thought of that!

  7. your jam sounds fantastic and your bread looks great too! what a great idea! 🙂 I made mine by hand and kneading in the butter at the end was quite a workout! 🙂 Your loaves look great!

  8. The cherry vanilla grapefruit jam sounds wonderful. The knitting on some of your other posts is beautiful. I haven’t knitted in a long time…seeing yours is an inspiration.

  9. Jam swirl bread!! Sounds and looks delicious!!

  10. Good Morning, Thanks for subscribing to my blog! Looks like we have a lot in common, although I’m sure you’re a much better crafter than I am. But I do a lot of canning during these season, more than we can possibly eat, so it turns into gifts. but I love the creativity and can’t resist canning in the fall. You’re cherry jam looks wonderful. I got enough fruit my from own trees last year to put up jam too. It’s the best! Where do you live? Best~Piebird

  11. cherry vanilla grapefruit jam? that sounds amazing!!

  12. The jam alone sounds fantastic! I thought this bread was a great choice for the first recipe, too. Easy enough for beginners and bringing more experienced bakers back to basics.

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