|Sesame Seed Sandwich Bread|
I will start with the simplest recipe...a sandwich loaf. This recipe is from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice ...my first ever baking book. I was very skeptical about buying a book for baking since I had never referred any book for cooking purposes. However, since my initial bread making tries were a complete disaster, I decided to buy this book and have been very satisfied with my decision.
Coming to this post, it is going to be a long one since I have tried to explain the steps in as much detail as possible. So please bear with me. My husband tells me that I have a very annoying habit of explaining everything in detail. He actually just cuts through my conversation all the time(not a conversation actually since I am the one who keeps talking). But I do not think it's an annoying one but a good habit. Right? Anyway, even if you agree with him, please go through all the steps carefully to minimize errors.
NOTE: I make this bread in a span of two days since it gives me more control over the process and I can plan my schedule accordingly. However, you can by all means make it in one day itself. This bread will keep well at room temperature in a large zip pouch plastic bag for 2 or at the max 3 days. DO NOT refrigerate it.
305 grams / 10.8 ounces bread flour or strong white flour plus a little extra for sprinkling
3/4 teaspoon salt
25 grams / 1 ounce granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
25 grams / 1 ounce melted butter or oil
140-160 grams / 5fl - 6fl ounce water(the amount of water you require depends on your flour)
For Egg wash:
1 egg beaten with one teaspoon water or milk until frothy(optional)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and sugar with your hand. Add the yeast and mix. Make a small well in the center and add all the liquid ingredients.
Dip your hand in the mixture and keep rotating your hand in a circular motion to blend the dry and the wet ingredients until the mixture has formed a rough ball. The dough should neither be too sticky or too dry. If it is sticky add a tablespoon of flour at a time and if the dough is dry, add a little water at a time until your reach the required texture(it would take practice to judge this correctly. So do not worry if you do not get it right the first time...you will eventually).
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and tip the mixture on the counter. Knead well by stretching the dough, folding it and then stretching and folding again. Repeat this process until the dough becomes smooth and satiny. Keep sprinkling flour in between if the dough is too sticky and is difficult to knead. However, if the dough is only slightly sticky, do not add more flour since it will keep getting less and less sticky as you knead it.
To check if you have kneaded the dough enough and the dough's gluten structure has developed, cut a small piece of dough using a dough scraper or a sharp knife. Stretch the piece of dough a little at at time rotating it at the same time. You should be able to stretch it to the stage where it is almost transparent without tearing it off(as shown in the last photo). If the dough tears off before reaching that stage, knead it for a minute or two and try again.
Once you have reached the required stage, knead the piece of dough into the rest of the dough to blend them together. Lightly oil a large bowl and rotate the dough in the bowl so as to coat the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with a cling film and keep in the refrigerator overnight.
NOTE: If you are making the bread the same day, do not refrigerate the dough. Keep it covered at room temperature till it is double it's original size.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator 1 1/2 to 2 hours prior to making bread. Let it stand covered till it reaches room temperature. The dough size should now be twice the original size. Remove the cling film and knock down the bread.
NOTE: If you are making the bread the same day, knock down the dough once it is double the size and then follow the steps below.
Sprinkle a little flour on the counter. Remove the dough from the bowl and tip it on the counter. Knead the dough for a minute or two to remove all the gas bubbles.
Gather the dough between your palms to form a ball. Lightly flour your hands and hold the dough between your hands like you would hold a steering wheel of a car. Keep your thumbs on top of the dough almost at the middle and the rest of your fingers below the dough. Stretch the dough from your thumbs till the end taking care that you do not tear it. Pinch the stretched dough at the bottom underneath.
Sprinkle a little flour on the counter.Flip the dough so that the pinched side is at the top and rest it on the counter. Pinch together the loose ends if any. Flip the dough again so that the pinched side is the base now. Spray a little oil on the dough or brush it with oil and cover with a cling film. Let it rest for 20 mins(You may not need to let it rest if you are making this bread in two days time since the long rest in the refrigerator gives ample time to the dough to relax it's gluten).
Meanwhile, lightly grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough. Press the dough with your hand and extend it to form a rectangular shape about 8-9 inches long and 6 inches wide. If the shape is uneven, fold in the edges and seal with your thumb to form an even sided rectangle. If the dough does not get extended and keeps coming back to its original size, cover it again with a cling film and let it rest for a further 10 mins and then try again.
Place the dough with the short side facing you. Starting from this side, fold the dough a little at a time pressing the edges into the dough below to seal the fold(like you fold an envelope). Now fold again and seal the edges. Repeat these steps until you reach the end of the dough(about 3-4 folds). Seal the last fold thoroughly so that the dough does not separate.
Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and place the dough on the sprinkled flour with the sealed edge as the base. Place both your palms on the dough and move it back and forth like a rock and roll motion until the dough is almost an inch longer than the loaf pan. Place the dough in the greased loaf pan. Spray or brush a little oil on the dough and cover it with cling film or a wet muslin cloth and leave it at room temperature till the dough is nearly double its size.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F. Before placing the dough in the oven, brush the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
Place it in the preheated oven for 45 mins to 1 hour.To check if the bread is baked sufficiently, remove the dough from the pan and make a sound at the base with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow and all the sides are evenly browned, it is done. Alternatively, you can check if the bread is done with a food thermometer as well. It should register at least 95 degrees C / 190 degrees F. If the bread is still underbaked, pop it in the oven for some more time until done. Remove the bread from the oven and keep it on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut a slice and enjoy your sesame seed sandwich bread with jam, preserves, butter, omelette or anything else that you would like.
|Sesame Seed Sandwich Bread|