I don't know what I would do without my Kitchen Aid mixer when it comes to making bread! I started out watching people on YouTube making bread and it was so fast and easy with the mixer. The first recipes I started making were French bread. I also tried sourdough but didn't use the mixer because, well, "they" the experts said not to. You really can over knead the sourdough!
The best bread recipe I found was on the back package of Bobs Red Mill's wheat flour! Simple ingredients and so easy in the kitchen aid.
1 cup warm Water
2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast (one 7 g packet)
1 cup Milk room temperature
1/4 c. Honey (raw honey)
2 Tbsp. Oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
2 3/4 c. Unbleached all-purpose flour
2 3/4 c. Whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. Salt
Start out by warming a cup of water in your microwave (or stove) to just the right temperature. You might ask, "what is the right temperature?" My rule of thumb is to get it the same temperature as you would for a baby bottle, not too hot, and not too cold. This way the yeast will activate.
Using your Kitchen Aid bowl, pour the warm water in with the yeast and mix it up with your plastic spatula. Let it sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
Next add the warm, room temperature milk, honey, oil and stir. Add the 2 3/4 c. of unbleached flour and salt. Mix with the mixer on #2 speed for just a minute. Add the 2 3/4 c. of whole wheat flour and mix for 10 minutes on #2 speed. You will know it is ready when the dough springs back when you push it and not stick to your hands.
Next take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball. I add oil to the Kitchen Aid bowl and coat the bottom and sides and put the dough down top side and coat with oil and turn it over. Place a slightly wet kitchen towel (clean, please!) over the top and placed in a dark, warm place which is usually your oven. I turn the oven light on and even turn the stove on for less than one minute on the warm 170-degree temperature. I will immediately turn it off. It is just to get a slight warming to the oven. You don't want it to cook, you want the dough to rise!
I wait 60 minutes and check the dough. When it has doubled in size, I remove it (beat it down some before removing from the bowl) and place it on a clean counter that is sprinkled with white flour. I will knead it a few times and form it into a ball before cutting it in half. I usually make two loaves in my 4x8 pans that have been coated with olive oil. If you want to make twisted bread or use your baguette pans, then roll it out and cut it into 3 even pieces. Roll the pieces to fit and place in the banquette pan or twist like in a braid to make the braided bread and use parchment paper on a big sheet pan to cook. If you don't have parchment paper, then just lightly oil the sheet pan and bake. I prefer parchment paper for easy clean up! Whichever way you choose to do it, it will be good!
You can also let the dough rise again before baking for about 30-45 minutes, but I find I don't need to do that with this recipe. It rises when it cooks.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and then turn it down to 375 degrees. Before putting it in the oven make sure you coat it with egg whites and make some cuts on top of the loaves. I like to make designs that look like wheat stalks or even a flower look. You can also sprinkle bagel topping seasoning on top for a gourmet flavor! It is a perfect combination for bread. I have also added garlic and herbs into the dough after it has risen.
Cook for 30 minutes or until brown on top and sides. I like it crusty so I will wait until it is hard on the side, just don't overcook.
Enjoy the fresh bread with some butter and jam, and you will have a super delicious treat for any time of the day.
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