I tweaked this recipe from “Baking with Julia”
Makes two 1.25-pound loaves in 9.5-inch x 5.5-inch loaf pans.
- 25 oz. warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1.25 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1.25 tablespoon sugar
- 710 g flour (mixed between bread and AP flour):
- About 4.5 cups bread flour
- About 4.25 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This helps the dough rise and helps preserve the bread.
- 1.25 tablespoon salt
- 2.5 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
Proofing the Yeast:
- Pour ½ cup of the water into the bowl of a mixer
- Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar
- Whisk to blend
- Rest 5 minutes. The mixture should be foamy. If not, your yeast was no good.
Mixing and Kneading:
- Use the dough hook
- Add the remaining water, egg yolks and about half of the flour.
- Mix slowly.
- Slowly add the remaining flour.
- Increase mixer speed to medium and beat, stopping to scrape down the bowl and as needed, until the dough comes together.
- Add the salt and ascorbic acid
- Beat on medium for another 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until incorporated and the dough comes back together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball.
- Butter, oil, or spray the mixer bowl (or another large bowl) and return the dough ball to the bowl.
- Roll it around to coat it in butter/oil.
- Cover the bowl with a damp dishtowel or plastic wrap or place it uncovered in a dough humidor.
- Let the dough room temperature until it doubles in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour
Shaping the Dough:
- Butter or spray two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans and set them aside.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Divide the dough in half and work with one piece at a time.
- Using the palms of your hands and fingertips, or a rolling pin, pat the dough into a large rectangle about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long with a short side facing you.
- Starting at the top, fold the dough about two thirds of the way down the rectangle and then fold it again, so that the top edge meets the bottom edge.
- Seal the seam by pinching it.
- With the seam up, pull the ends around and up and pinch them to the bottom.
- Put the dough into the loaf pan with the seams down.
- Repeat with the second half of the dough.
- Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap or place them in a dough humidor and allow them to rise in a warm place (about 80°F) until they double in size again, growing over the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes.
- While the loaves rise, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Check to see if the dough is completely risen. Poke your finger into the dough and the dent should stay in the dough and not spring back.
Baking the Bread:
- Bake the loaves for 30 minutes.
- Turn the loaves out of the pans and onto the rack in the oven.
- Continue baking for 5 to 15 more minutes.
- To check for doneness, place a thermometer through the bottom of the loaves and into the middle. The thermometer should read 200 degrees Fahrenheit when the bread is done.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and place them on a rack to cool.
- Don’t cut the bread while it is hot. Let it cool to just slightly warm before cutting.
Make sure you close off the cut side of the bread with a heel or plastic wrap so the bread doesn’t dry out.
Store on the shelf in a brown paper bag for up to 2 days. If the bread becomes hard, you can microwave each slice to soften it.
You can freeze the bread in an airtight wrap for up to a month. Keep the bread wrapped while it thaws.