One of the things that I want do with this blog is to arm you with a good variety of basic recipes that you can adapt as need be. This is one of the basics. It makes great bread and dinner rolls, you can fill it for cinnamon rolls and use it to wrap things like calzones (which will be the next post). If you skip the sugar and replace the butter with 2 T. of olive oil you’ve got a great pizza dough. If you use all milk you’ll get the most delicate result.
Basic Bread Dough Recipe
5 c. unbleached white flour
2 c. liguid (water, milk or a mixture)
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. butter
1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
Scald the liquid in the microwave until boiling. Add the butter and sugar.
Let cool to lukewarm and add the yeast.
Stir in 4 c. of flour and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes if the house is reasonably warm.
If it’s not reliably warm make your own little proofing box. Turn up the oven a little bit (leave it on 200 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn it off before you put the dough in) and let it rise in there.
Punch down the dough and turn it out for kneading. You’ll probably need to add more flour at this point, depending on your flour and the humidity. Just keep a cup of flour handy and sprinkle it on needed to keep the dough from sticking. Knead until it’s soft and resilient, like an underinflated balloon.
Divide it as need be for whatever you’re making:
Dinner Rolls (makes about 20), break off large golf ball sized portions and place in greased pans to rise until doubled – Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until brown. Brush the tops with butter as soon as they come out of the oven.
Bread (makes one large or two small loaves) – Roll it out flat and then re-roll it like a jelly roll. Place it seam-side down in a greased loaf pan. Let rise until doubled and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. If the top gets too brown cover it with foil while it finishes baking. Brush the top with butter and cool on a rack.