Buttermilk White Bread

Buttermilk White Bread

Buttermilk White Bread


A stand mixer bread experiment that actually worked! It did everything it was supposed to, rose high, tastes great and looks like the picture. I, for one, am currently sitting here in total shock.

So here’s the back story:

A few months ago I got a real, grown up, expensive (although not that expensive because I bought it on eBay) stand mixer. Kitchen Aide has a store on eBay where, from time to time, they post refurbed mixers at significantly off new prices and I broke down and bought one. I’d tried a stand mixer in the past, but managed to burn out the motor in less than a day (don’t ask how…) Anyway, I’d been eyeing mixers after that last debacle because I really love to make bread at home. The house just smells so fantastic when you’re making homemade bread and the kids love to help. I’d heard over and over again how great stand mixers were for kneading the dough, which is admittedly one of my weak spots (the minute it resembles anything at all, boom it’s done as far as I’m concerned. Developed gluten is so overrated). I thought it would make more sense to get a stand mixer than a dough machine because the stand mixer can be used for other things.

So I’ve been trying out the stand mixer and I have to say, it’s not love at first sight, more like meh at first sight. I try as a rule to make the smallest batch possible with things like desserts (that being one of the only times I use my mixer) and the problem with a big stand mixer is that it’s really designed to handle larger batches than mine. Thus, the entire time is spent scrapping down the sides of the stupid bowl, whereas I never remember doing that more than maybe once, with my good old handheld mixer. Meanwhile for bread, because my batches are small, the dough hook, which is after all the point of the stupid thing as far as I’m concerned (my hand mixer didn’t take up that kind of counter space either, ahem), it was decidedly less than optimal. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get it to come out as well as my hand kneaded stuff which is odd considering, as I mentioned before I’m not exactly a candidate for kneader of the year. Had it been an ebay option, I’d have been very tempted to send the stupid thing back, (or at least resell it). But, unusually for me, I persevered.

My husband took the kids grocery shopping and I thought, oh why not try again. I have buttermilk that’s aging as we speak in the fridge so I turned to my trusty bread baking book (Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Authentic Jewish Rye and Other Breads by George Greenstein) and decided to follow his directions for making bread with a stand mixer to the letter.

Side note: I love this book. I don’t think I’ve made a bad bread from it and that’s saying something. Every single thing in it is tasty and there is a wide range of flavors, from rye, flatbreads, and white breads to pizza and banana bread.

And, as I mentioned in the top of the post, success! Not only did it work out, but I have a much better idea of what bread made with a stand mixer should look and feel like as it goes along. The biggest tip I learned is that to work effectively, you have to be making a lot of bread. His recipe makes three loaves and uses 8 cups of flour! That was more than I bargained for, but the good thing about bread dough is, once it is fully risen and kneaded, you can freeze it for future use. So if you don’t need two huge loaves at once just freeze it before (or after if you prefer) you’ve baked it. The other thing that worked well was to set the timer for the minimum time and then do an additional two minutes one speed higher. It really helped the gluten. I’ve also read that you should let the bread sit for about 15-20 mins to let the flour absorb the water. Then it stretches better and needs less flour overall.

Prep time: 20 min +2 hours rising time

Freezes: Both as dough and as bread

Reheats: No

Kid Friendly Tasks: Adding the ingredients with the mixer off

Ingredients

  • 3 pkgs Yeast
  • ½ c Very Hot Water (The perfect temp is when you can stick your finger in just for a second.)
  • 8 c All Purpose Flour (Know how much you scoop. My scoops tend to be overfull so I use closer to 7 and then add more as needed)
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 2.5 c Buttermilk (or Kefir)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Salt

Directions

  1. Proof yeast in stand mixer with the water.
  2. Add in honey, flour, buttermilk, butter, and salt. Always add the sugar first because yeast feeds on sugar so it will make your dough rise better. Always add the salt last because salt kills yeast so you want the cushion of flour between the two. Never add the salt directly to the yeast or your dough won’t rise. At this point he calls for the paddle attachment, but I just use a fork. When the dough is wet and shaggy and maybe starting to come together, put the bowl in the stand and put on the dough hook.
  3. Mix on the lowest speed for 6 mins, checking to see if you need to add more flour. If so, add it in ¼ c intervals. Up the speed setting to two for two more minutes. The dough should be riding up the dough hook and pulling away from the pan. Dough feels quite different if it’s been fully kneaded I must say.
  4. Place in a large, well oiled bowl (I just oil the stand mixer’s bowl that I’ve been using), cover with plastic wrap or a wet kitchen towel and let rise 45mins to an hour.
  5. Punch down, divide in half and place in two oiled 9 inch bread pans. If you’ve only got 8 inch pans, then make three loaves because you will have too much dough. Cover with plastic wrap/that kitchen towel and let rise one more hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Brush the top of the loaves with melted butter. Place the two loaf pans in the oven and cook with steam (so take a cup of water and throw it in the bottom of the oven right as you put in the loaf pans. Watch your face! That steam is hot) for 45 mins.
  7. Let cool a few minutes and then turn the loaves out onto a paper towel to cool completely.

I’ve been trying to get Japanese white bread right and, while I haven’t mastered that yet, this is a strong second place for my favorite bread.

Buttermilk White Bread

Buttermilk White Bread

 

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