A Prefect Bread for a Perfect Weekend
Updated: Jan 17
Hello, here is a bread recipe less time-consuming than the Asian bread (aka tangzhong bread), but more refined than the no-knead french bread. You can use this dough to make cheese bread sticks, mini pizza, or soft rolls. It's not only soft and fluffy, but also has texture and bite at the same time. Best part? Less time! It takes 4~6 hours from flour to bread. It's my go-to bread recipe for a weekend afternoon.
Let's get started!
Yeast 1 teaspoon
Warm Milk (microwave for about 45 seconds till ~40 degree F) 240 mL
Sugar 2 tablespoons
Eggs 2 large, beaten
Bread flour 3 1/2 Cups
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Butter (melted) 1/4 cup
1. Mix yeast, milk, sugar and eggs, let it sit for ~10 minutes until the liquid mixture appears foamy and smells yeasty;
2. Mix in flour, salt, then butter;
3. To knead:
Use a stand mixer and the hook attachment to mix at speed "1" for about 2 minutes, use a silicon spatula to scrape down the flour on the inside of the mixing bowl, then turn the speed up to "2" and knead for another 2~3 minutes. Repeat the above until the dough comes together in a ball shape and appears smooth.
Alternatively, use a spatula to mix all ingredients well, then use your hand to knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Don't be afraid to add flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Different brands of bread flour has slightly different levels of gluten and starch content, and therefore their "hydration points" (fancy word for "abilities to hold water") vary.
4. 1st Rise: cover the dough with a kitchen towel, a lid, or plastic wrap, let the dough rise for about 2 hours. The dough should have doubled in size, and is soft and fluffy when you touch it. It does take longer for the dough to rise in colder weather. It's totally fine to let it continue to rise for another 30 minutes or one hour. Nothing bad will happen if you forget and left the dough to rise for the whole afternoon.
5. Deflate: now the fun part! Punch out all the big air bubbles! Prepare a big chopping board, or a clean and smooth counter top surface; and about 1 cup of flour to dust the surface, the dough and your hands. Take out the dough, use your fists to punch out the air. Use a rolling pin to knead out any remaining air bubbles in the dough.
6. Shape the dough: think about what you'd like to make, and cut the dough into sections according, for example, 12 bread sticks, 10 squares, 12 balls, or maybe some cinnamon rolls! Prepare baking sheets, brush them with oil or line with parchment paper. Place the shaped doughs on the baking sheet 2 inches apart so they can continue to rise.
7. 2nd Rise: cover the baking sheets and let the dough rise for another hour to 2 hours until the doughs double in size.
8. Final touch: be creative! Throw on your favorite toppings. Some ideas here:
Cheese sticks, makes 12: brush the bread sticks with milk, spread shredded cheddar cheese on top;
Jalapeno bread, makes 8: brush the diamond shaped dough with olive oil, top the dough with shredded mozzarella cheese, and sliced picked jalapeno;
Mini olive pizzas, makes 8: brush the mini pizza doughs with olive oil, generously layer on pesto sauce, and whole pitted olives.
9. Bake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, bake the bread for 15~20 minutes until it's golden colored.
Final notes: it's a versatile dough and be creative about toppings, as well as fillings! See that picture at the top of the post? We love cheese so much so we decided to stuff our cheese sticks with shredded cheddar cheese filling and topping.
What's your favorite topping/filling?