Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Bread - first week of Tuesdays with Dorie

So this week, I'm trying to be gluten-free, which means my husband is my official tester. It takes a certain kind of insanity to bake bread and then not eat it. However, this bread was very easy to make. The recipe is quite correct in that you can start it after breakfast and eat it for lunch. The dough is lovely - supple, silky and easy to handle. When fully kneaded, it passes the "window pane test"
It bakes up beautifully and slices nicely.

That's the good news.

The less good news is my husband's reaction: "It's ordinary". Let me put this in context. I have been baking bread regularly for about 4 years and my go-to recipes are from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. My freezer is always stocked with loaves of pain de campagne, so we're accustomed to lean bread, with a full, aged taste. Still, an enriched bread like this has its charms - sweet, soft, melting in your mouth. This bread has a great texture

but not much taste. My husband, shamefacedly, pronounced "It's just a cut above Ben's (aka Wonder) Bread". He was fairly embarrassed to be dismissing fresh, warm, homemade bread in such a manner, but nevertheless, was not impressed by the taste. We have both been enamoured of Peter Reinhart's white bread, which is truly enriched. It uses buttermilk in place of water, an egg, and a little more sugar. It mixes up almost (but not quite) as easily and tastes amazing. So, bottom line, for me this recipe is not a keeper; when I make white sandwich bread, which is rare, I'll stick with Peter. But, as a concluding comment, let me say, that this recipe is so easy and successful, that there's little need to ever buy white bread again... but I'm probably preaching to the choir. Bake on!


  1. Of course its hard to beat Peter Reinhart's Artisan breads but I thought this was quite good. Maybe partly because I subbed 1/2 whole wheat white flour for the bread flour.

  2. What a tough week to be gluten free. I'll have to look into the Peter Reinhart book - sounds interesting!

    1. I am definitely giving up the gluten-free thing when we make the chocolate tartlets :)
      I really like Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice - it's easy to understand and the recipes are very good. I am very fond of the cinnamon roll recipe!

  3. Well,Peter would be a little hard to beat. (Especially a buttermilk enriched loaf...)
    I have had my eye on a couple of Peter's books, but haven't quite brought myself to making the jump.

  4. I have to admit that I like The Bread Baker's Apprentice White Bread a lot also. It makes terrific buns and rolls too!
    It was fun trying a new recipe, however, and I think it was a nice start for our new book.