Thursday, April 12, 2012

Basic White Bread with Jalapeno

We have been eating store bought breads for so long that I have forgotten how good homemade bread could taste. My sister used to bake a variety of breads and pastries for us back home. During that time, she made everything from scratch. We did not have a machine to knead the dough or a full size oven to bake. She made all her baked goodies using a small convention oven.

I love everything about homemade breads; fragrance while baking, warmth of a freshly baked bread, its delicate texture, and best of all, simple yet delicious taste of it. I’m still new to making breads but it is not as difficult as I initially thought it would be. It does require some time but most of the time it needs is for dough resting so you’re not actively involved during that process.

This is a basic loaf of bread with an addition of Jalapeno peppers. This recipe came with my KitchenAid mixer and original recipe is for 2 loaves of bread. I usually make one loaf at a time so below is the one loaf version. If you don’t have a machine, you can just knead the dough with hands.


Basic White Bread with Jalapeno
Click on the image to enlarge

Makes: 1 loaf
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Dough Rising Time: 2 hours
Baking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Butter or Margarine
3/4 cup Water
1 packet Active Dry Yeast (1/4 ounce packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons from bulk)
2 1/2 to 3 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
Oil Spray
1 Jalapeno – finely chopped

Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat milk, sugar and butter over medium heat just until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour it into a stand mixer bowl or a large bowl, if kneading by hand.
  2. Add room temperature water to the bowl and stir. This will bring down the liquid temperature to lukewarm. The temperature should be around 105 to 110 degree F.
  3. Add yeast to the liquid mixture, stir and keep aside for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
  4. In a separate clean bowl, sift 2 cups of flour and salt together. Add flour to the liquid mixture and attach bowl and dough hook. Turn on to speed 2 and mix for about 1 minute. (If kneading by hand, use a wooden spatula and stir to combine)
  5. Meanwhile, sift the remaining 1 cup of flour in a separate bowl. You might not need to use all of the flour while kneading.
  6. Continuing the machine on speed 2, add the remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time until the dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 more minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch. (If kneading by hand, pour dough out to lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as required until dough is smooth and elastic, for about 10 minutes)
  7. Place dough in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
  8. Cover with plastic and let rise in warm draft free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  9. Punch dough down, add jalapeno and knead to combine. On lightly floured surface with a rolling pin, roll into approximately 8 x 14 inch rectangle shape.
  10. Starting at a short end, roll dough tightly, pinch dough to seal seam, pinch ends and turn under. Place the shaped dough seam side down in a lightly greased (8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½) inch loaf pan.
  11. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise in warm draft free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 30 minutes or so before baking.
  13. Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from loaf pan immediately and cool on wire rack. 
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