Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

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Overview

From the bestselling author of The New Complete Book of Breads comes the thirtieth anniversary edition of this classic baking book, now in trade paperback. In this exhaustive volume, you'll find recipes for every imaginable type of bread, from white and rye to cheese, herb, French, and Italian breads. Croissants, brioches, flat breads, and crackers are covered in depth as well. Home bakers will find an extraordinary range of variety, nearly enough to supply a new bread a day for a year. There are wheat breads — ...

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Overview

From the bestselling author of The New Complete Book of Breads comes the thirtieth anniversary edition of this classic baking book, now in trade paperback. In this exhaustive volume, you'll find recipes for every imaginable type of bread, from white and rye to cheese, herb, French, and Italian breads. Croissants, brioches, flat breads, and crackers are covered in depth as well. Home bakers will find an extraordinary range of variety, nearly enough to supply a new bread a day for a year. There are wheat breads — Honey-Lemon, Walnut, Buttermilk; sourdough breads; corn breads; breads flavored with herbs or spices or enriched with cheese or fruits and nuts; and little breads — Kaiser Rolls, Grandmother's Southern Biscuits, English Muffins, and Popovers, to name a few. For the baker who observes the holidays with a fresh loaf there are Challah and Italian Panettone.

Clayton also covers topics like starters and storing and freezing breads, and devotes an entire chapter to "What Went Wrong — and How to Make It Right." Perfect for all levels of bakers, this book walks the novice through the steps and encourages the advanced baker to try new variations on recipes.

Devoted fans of Bernard Clayton will be thrilled with this easy-to-use paperback edition and delighted to see old favorites and try new ones. This is the definitive edition of the classic baking book that every good cook should own.

Tastemaker Award-Winner Bernard Clayton improves on his classic bread book with up-to-date revisions and it's still the best guide to baking the tenderest, crustiest, most soul-satisfying breads from around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you have an oven, you must have this book...Bernard Clayton is a master baker."

— Marion Cunningham

Library Journal
Clayton's now classic The Complete Book of Breads was originally published in 1973. For the first edition of his New Complete Book of Breads, which appeared in 1987, he updated 200 of the recipes to reflect changes in both bread-making equipment and the availability of ingredients; he also added 100 new recipes. This 30th-anniversary edition is a more modest revision of the 1987 title. The recipes and the ingredients/equipment sections have been revised or reworked as necessary, but this version is perhaps most notable for its clean new design, which retains the handy "step-by-step" subheads and layout of the earlier books while giving the text a more streamlined, approachable look. For most baking collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743287098
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Edition description: 30th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 30
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 308,306
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Bernard Clayton Jr. began his career as a reporter and foreign correspondent; baking and cooking were his hobbies. He has been writing cookbooks for more than thirty years. When Mr. Clayton travels, he investigates historical and regional recipes, conversing with cooks and bakers around the world. He is the author of numerous cookbooks, including Bernard Clayton's Cooking Across America, The Complete Book of Pastry, and The Breads of France. He lives with his wife in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Equipment That Contributes to a Perfect Loaf

A loaf of bread can be made in two ways, by hand or in a machine.

By hand:

Work space is perhaps the most important consideration in making dough by hand, but the space need not be overlarge. An area 2 feet square is adequate for almost all bread-making — assembling the ingredients, the mixing, the kneading, and the shaping.

All the loaves in my first bread book were made on a 2-foot-square Formica countertop between the stove and the sink, and on an 18-inch-square board in our trailer while traveling the United States. Later, when I built a new kitchen with two 12-foot work tables, I found that I still centered my work on a small space on one countertop.

Formica is a good surface, but it can be scratched with a knife or dough scraper. A table of maple is my preference, but it must be cleaned thoroughly after each batch of dough. And never allow a knife to get near it. It is not a cutting block!

Stainless steel is very good. While it looks cold and unyielding, for sanitary reasons it is the only surface allowed in commercial kitchens by the health departments of most cities.

The height of the countertop or table is more important than its composition. It should be high enough to allow the palms of the hands, arms extended, to rest on the top surface. If it is too low, it will tire your back; too high, you cannot push with force down on the dough.

By electric mixer:

An electric mixer with a dough hook attachment will take all the toil out of bread-making. And it does it just as well as by hand.

I have used the large-model KitchenAid (K5A) on medium batches of dough with great success. However, a large batch of dough may climb up the dough hook and work its way into the gears. Nothing stops it unless I force the dough with a rubber scraper to remain below the wide metal collar.

In the first steps of making dough, when it is nothing more than a batter, I use the flat paddle-type beater at medium speed and then attach the dough hook only after the batter or dough is thick enough to move with the revolving arm. The KitchenAid people suggest the dough hook for the entire process but I like to start with the flat beater.

A second machine in my kitchen is a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine, a powerful mixer with an extra-large bowl and a clawlike kneading arm that effectively rolls and tumbles the dough. There is sometimes a point in the mixing process when the dough is slick and slides around the bowl rather than tumbling, but a little additional flour will correct this.

There are many other good mixers with kneading devices; however, don't attempt to mix heavy doughs in a machine that is not guaranteed by the company to handle it. Mixing and kneading puts a strain on small motors, and even my large machines will get hot during the few minutes it takes to knead a batch of dough. Do not use lightweight or portable or hand-held mixers because the danger of damage is too great. They are fine for batters no thicker than pancake mixes, but that is all.

By food processor:

In all the years that I have baked bread nothing has surprised me more than the ability of the food processor to knead dough in 60 seconds or less. I was late accepting the processor as a viable machine because I believed that only a long period of kneading would make a good loaf of bread. I was wrong.

I am not familiar with the dynamics involved but I do know that the force of the whirling blade, steel or plastic, is tremendous and can accomplish in a moment or two what otherwise would take long minutes.

The recipes in the book have been tested on one of the larger Cuisinart models, the DLC-7 Super Pro. It is a rugged model for the home kitchen and I know a number of chefs and caterers who use it as well.

There are a number of other food processors now on the market that knead dough. Some are small and underpowered and should not be used for volumes larger than suggested by the manufacturer. I also have one of the early Cuisinarts, a smaller model in which I prepare only one medium loaf at a time.

In my large machine I use a steel blade for 4 cups of flour or less, and a special stubby plastic blade for up to 7 or 8 cups of flour.

The sequence begins with some of the flour and other dry ingredients, including the yeast, processed with the liquid to make a heavy batter. As more flour is added, the batter becomes dough that is spun around the bowl by the blade. When the dough cleans the sides of the bowl, it is processed from 45 to 60 seconds. The finished dough should have a soft, pliable texture and it should feel slightly sticky. Stretch the dough with your hands to test it. If it feels hard, lumpy, or uneven, continue processing until it feels uniformly soft and pliable.

Food processor instructions for the recipes in this book have been adapted to work with the new fast-rising yeasts by adding the dry yeast to the flour before the liquid is added, rather than proofing the yeast separately, as is suggested by several manufacturers.

There is one problem related to making dough in the food processor that can be exasperating, but is easily overcome. On occasion the blade will stick to the center shaft, held there by a film of dough that has worked its way under the blade and onto the shaft. Once there, the heat generated by the whirling blade creates a bond that is difficult to break. If this happens, take out the dough and pulse the blade in the empty bowl several times. The blade should lift out. If not, pour boiling hot water into the bowl and turn the processor on for a few seconds. Voila!

Note: After having written so glowingly of both the mixer and food processor, I must explain that many of the batter breads in the book are done in a bowl by hand because it is hardly worth the bother of cleaning the blades and hooks and odd-shaped bowls of the machines. I like the bowl-hand method because mixing the batters is so easily done and washing up after is minimal.

Dough Knife or Scraper

One of the handiest implements in the baker's hands is a dough knife or dough blade. The French call it a coupe-pâte. It is a rectangular piece of steel (about 4 by 5 inches) with a wooden handhold that quickly becomes an extension of the arm when you work and knead dough by hand. It is great for lifting and working doughs that are sticky during the early part of kneading. A thin, flexible blade is better than a heavy, stiff one — a 4-inch putty knife is a good substitute.

Rolling Pin

There are only a few doughs that need a rolling pin. My favorite weighs 6 pounds, has ball bearings in the handles, and rolls an 18-inch-wide swath. The graceful French rolling pin is marvelous for pastry and some bread doughs but too light for others.

Conventional Bread Pans

Don't discard your shiny aluminum bread pan because it doesn't brown bread as well on the bottom and sides as the dark metal or Pyrex pans. When you turn out the loaf and find it less brown than you wanted, put it back in the oven — without the pan — for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The crust will brown nicely.

The silicone-coated (Teflon) pans are excellent — they will produce a deep brown crust with no sticking. Equally good are those of black steel and stoneware.

Special Bread Pans

French bread in the classic shapes of the baguette, ficelle, flûte, or bâtard is baked in special pans or raised in baskets or between cloths and baked directly on the hot oven floor.

Manufactured in France and now widely available in the United States, the pans are for two to six loaves and pressed out of a single piece of metal. I make my own double pans from black stovepipe that I buy at a country store near my home. The pipe costs about one dollar.

The French banneton is a woven basket, cloth-lined, in which the dough rises and is then turned out directly onto a baking sheet or, as in France, the hot oven floor. It can be duplicated by shopping for a selection among round and rectangular wicker baskets sold in kitchenware departments. Shape a piece of tightly woven cloth to fit into the basket; tie the cloth to the bottom of the basket so it will stay in place when the dough is turned out. Dust the cloth liberally with flour each time you use it.

A pastry cloth or a length of duck or light canvas can become the couche to shape long loaves that will be baked directly on baking sheets, on a baking stone, or on the oven floor. The shaped dough for the final rising is held between folds of the cloth. The ends of the couche are held in place by pieces of wood (to act like bookends) to force the dough up, not out.

To shape the tall cylindrical loaves such as panettone, use a coffee can. It costs nothing extra and the printing on the metal absorbs the heat to give the loaf a handsome deep-brown crust. The can is expendable, so if the bread should stick cut the bottom and push out the obstinate loaf.

For a yeast bread, fill the can a little more than halfway. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise to the edge of the can — no more. "Ovenspring" — the action of the heat on the yeast dough — will blossom it up, out, and over the edge like a mushroom.

Place the can on a lower rack so that the rising dough will not push its way against the roof of the oven.

Baking Sheet

A heavy baking or cookie sheet, silicone-coated, such as Teflon, is the best because it does not have to be brushed with oil or sprinkled with cornmeal each time before using. Get the heaviest and largest your oven will accommodate, allowing a 1-inch clearance on all sides to facilitate the flow of hot air around it. The heavier the baking sheet the better it will retain heat when preheated, and the better it will duplicate baking on an oven floor. Some heavy-gauge dark steel baking sheets (26 by 17 inches) weigh more than 6 pounds! Excellent.

Parchment Paper

There will seldom be a sticking problem if baking sheets and tins are lined with parchment paper. It can be bought in gourmet cookware shops and housewares departments in rolls 15 inches wide by lb feet long. Large 16-by-24-inch flat sheets can be bought, but only in large quantities, at bakery supply houses.

Teflon Sheet

A sheet of pliable Teflon material that is particularly useful to cover dough when it is rising.

Baking Stone

A baking stone placed on the lower shelf of the oven is as close as most home bakers can get to baking thick-crusted loaves on the oven floor as bakers have been doing for centuries. The stones are manufactured of heat-retaining composition stone in two shapes — a 16-inch round plate or a 14-by-16-inch rectangle. A stone weighs about 10 pounds and is heavy enough to closely duplicate the baking qualities of the brick floor of a wood-fired oven.

Unlike a baking sheet that can be moved in and out of the oven to receive the dough, the preheated stone is better left in place in the oven and the bread taken to it. Pans or baking sheets with dough can be placed on the heavy stone to produce a thicker bottom crust.

Pizzas and pastries, especially those with moist fillings, can also be baked on the hot stone to get a thrust of heat from the bottom that ambient air can never give.

The Oven

Assume that the oven thermostat is not accurate until proven otherwise. A good oven thermometer, the mercury-filled columnar by Taylor, for example, is a good investment when you consider just the cost of ingredients, to say nothing of your time. Even though the utility company will usually adjust your oven at no cost, continue to use the thermometer to check the thermostat.

A too-cool oven will not bake bread. A too-hot oven may scorch it. An oven that is just right will produce a masterpiece.

The heat in an oven varies in intensity from side to side, front to back, and top to bottom. Move the pans and turn them at least once during the baking period to compensate for these variations.

I have seven ovens in my studio-kitchen — gas, electric (including one convection oven), and one wood-fired. With the conventional ovens I have found almost no difference between electricity and gas as to the appearance and quality of breads or pastries.

My countertop convection oven works on the same principle of "convection" cooking that many restaurant and bakery ovens utilize. Heat from a conventional electric element is fan-driven to swirl and circulate around foods. It is unnecessary to preheat this oven. Loaves bake uniformly and at temperatures about 50° lower than those of other ovens and need not be shifted during the bake period.

I like the convection oven but I find the so-called portable model limited in capacity when compared with my other ovens.

My wood-fired oven, in which I bake directly on the stone floor after it is swept clean, produces a thick bottom crust on bread and pizza that is hard to duplicate except with a baking stone (see above). My first woodfired oven was built of adobe in my backyard. My second one was built of firebrick into the stone fireplace of the studio-kitchen.

Plans for the outdoor adobe oven are in the chapter "Homemade Oven and Tins."

I have not found a need for a microwave oven in my kitchen to do my kind of baking.

Thermometer

If the new fast-rising yeast is to do everything that's promised, the liquid mixed with the dry ingredients (including the yeast) should be within the range of 120° and 130°. Too hot, the yeast is killed. Too cool, the dough will be slow to rise. An accurate thermometer that can test the temperature of the liquid (usually water) is essential.

An excellent thermometer is the small Bi-Therm from Taylor. It has a stainless steel stem with a 1-inch dial protected by an unbreakable crystal. There are many other uses for it in the kitchen, ranging from testing the doneness of a pork roast to gauging the temperature of the interior of a freezer.

Candy and meat thermometers can also be used if they register low enough.

Timer

A timer is as essential to the baking process as an accurate thermometer. There are many good timers on the market and usually one comes as part of the home range. My favorite, however, is a timer about the size of a yo-yo that I hang around my neck. It goes with me to other parts of the house or out into the yard to remind me that something is rising in a bowl or baking in the oven. It is made by Terraillon and sold in most gourmet cookware shops and by catalog.

Knife

A sharp knife adds a touch of professionalism that a good loaf of bread deserves. A slice of bread is only as attractive as a knife will permit it to be. A dull knife can torture and wreck the most beautiful bread while a sharp knife can do wonders with a less-than-perfect loaf.

There are a number of excellent knives on the market. I use a stainless steel Swiss knife with a long serrated blade that allows me to cut with a rhythmic sawing motion. Now about fifteen years old, the knife has cut hundreds of loaves and pastries and is still sharp as a razor. The secret is that I respect the blade and use it only for bread.

To Make Steam

Steam has a multiple role in baking thin-crusted, crispy loaves of peasant breads: it softens and protects the dough as it rises for a longer period than would be possible without the added moisture, and it favors the growth of the jet, the slash down the top of the loaf. The moist oven also helps caramelize the sugar in the dough to give the crust a golden yellow color and an overall glossy appearance.

Steam is made by introducing water into the oven lust before the bread is put in. A pan placed on the bottom of the oven before the oven is turned on will be sizzling hot when a cup of water is poured into it about 3 minutes before putting in the loaves. (Be careful — the steam erupting out of the pan can burn.) A fine spray of water into the hot oven from an atomizer (an empty, washed window-cleaner bottle or plant sprayer) is a substitute for the pan of water. I prefer the pan because a spray of cool water directly toward the oven light bulb can be a shattering experience.

Copyright © 1973, 1987, 1995 by Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Equipment That Contributes to a Perfect Loaf
Ingredients and How They Are Combined

The First Loaf

White Breads

Thirty-Minute
Cuban
Egg Harbor
Scottish Buttermilk
Frisian Sugar Loaf
English Muffin
Sally Lunn
Buttermilk
Turnipseed Sisters'
Swedish Caraway
Sister Virginia's Daily
Rich White
Feather
Poppy Seed Bubble
Weissbrot mit Kümmel
Old Order Amish
Zeppelin
Methodist White
Pusstabrot
with Chocolate
Lee's Rich Loaf
Portuguese Sweet
Home Roman Meal
Hearty White
Salt-Free

Bran Breads

Bran-Nut
HiloBran
Butter Bran
High-Fiber

Whole-Wheat Breads

Honey-Lemon
Buttermilk
Chopped Wheat
Max's Loaf
Gugelhupf Complet Biologique
Vollkornbrot
Fruit-Nut Graham
Wheat Germ
Walnut Wheat
Rudi's Stone-Ground
Sesame-Nut
Sprouted Wheat
Molasses Wheat
Dark
Sour
Batter
Royal Hibernian
Maple Syrup -- Graham
Whole Wheat Orange

Rye Breads

Rye Sour
Old Milwaukee
Triple Rye
Vortlimpa
Russian Black
Raisin
Sour Dill
Westphalian Pumpernickel
Peasant Black
Sour Cream
Onion
with Sauerkraut
Buttermilk Rye-Whole-Wheat
Pain Seigle
Heavy Sour
Spicy
Pumpernickel
Dutch Roggebrood
Seeded

Barley Breads

Banana
Rieska
Orange

Corn Breads

Yankee
Sour Milk
Southern
Broa
Bacon Spoon
Corn Sticks
Rich
Toasted Cornmeal
Plymouth
Batter
Jalapeno
Corn Bubble
Johnnycake
Taloa
Biscuits au Mais
Steamed
Corn Corn
Gâateau au Mais

Buckwheat Breads

Bauernbrot
Buckwheat
Special Buckwheat

Oat Breads

English
Scotch
ButtermilkOaten
Raisin
Orange
Maple
Cinnamon

Blended Grain Breads

Dark Grains
Onion Triticale
Red River Pumpernickel
Multi-Grain
Baked Brown
Boston Brown
Wheat and Oat Sennebec Hill
Three Flours
War Bread
Pain
Noir
Red River White

French and Italian Breads

Pain de Campagne Honfleur
Pain de Campagne Madame Doz
Pain Ordinaire Careme
with Egg Whites
Pain de Campagne
Poilâne
Pain Italien
Italian Batter
Schiacciata
Braided
Peasant
Blue Ribbon

Starters

Cooked Potato
Raw Potato
Honey
Hops
Yogurt
Sourdough

Sourdough Breads

Homecoming Sourdough French
Sourdough Oatmeal
Sourdough Whole-Wheat
Sourdough Loaf
Sourdough Potato
Starter White
California Sourdough Whole-Wheat
Pumpernickel

Salt-Rising Breads

Sister Abigail's
Salt-Rising

Festive Breads

Mother's Christmas
Julekage
Bohemian Christmas
Challah
Hoska
Kulich
Sugarplum
Barm Brack
Gugelhupf
Italian Panettone
Stolle de Noël
Choreki
Anise Kuchen
Christopsomo
Portuguese Honey
Hungarian Christmas
Finnish Easter
Golden Beehive
Election Day
Swiss Christmas
Kolach
Luffen
Bara Brith
Portuguese Nut and Fruit

Cheese Breads

Roquefort
Twisted Cheese Loaf
Pepper Cheese Loaf
Caraway Batter
Buttermilk
Swiss Cheese-Potato
Tabasco
Cheese Bread Ring
Galette de Gannat
Gâteau de Gannat
Bovril and Cheese Loaf
Cheddar Cheese
Pain Battu au Fromage
Shortbread
Rye Braid with Brie

Potato Breads

Sister Jennie's
Potato
Potato Starter White
Irish Freckle

Vegetable Breads

Onion Lover's
Pumpkin-Walnut
Carrot
Tomato-Caraway
Onion Twist
Zucchini-Basil
Tomato-Cheese
Marbled
Pain au Rhubarbe
Pain d'Ail

Herb and Since Breads

Flatbread with Raisins
Pepper Spice
Savory
Six Herbs
Whole-Wheat Herb
Pesto
Dilly Casserole
Briarpatch Herb
Sage and Celery
Pain de Provence
Butter-Beer Batter
Minted Yogurt
North African Coriander
Cumin
Pain d'Epice
Swedish Cardamom Braid
Orange-Cinnamon Swirl
Rosemary-Garlic

Fruit and Nut Breads

Hana Banana-Nut
Blueberry-Pecan
Chopped Apple
LemonNut
Coconut-Banana
Nubby Peanut
Lemon Rich Tea Loaf
Cranberry-Nut
Glazed Raisin
Selkirk Bannock
Honey-Pineapple
German Raisin
Vel's Date
Apricot-Nut
Raisin-Nut
Raisin-Orange
Orange-Nut
Orange
Cherry-Pecan
Loyalist
Pain aux Noix
German Fruit
Peanut Butter-Beer
BranDate Deluxe
Familia-Raisin
Peanut Batter
Raisin Coffee Cake
Italian Olive
Fresh Strawberry

Little Breads

German Sour Cream Twists
Chinese Steamed Buns
Lenora's Yeast Rolls
Gipfelteig
Petites Galettes Salees
Ka'achei Sumsum
Benne Seed Biscuits
Bialys
Gateaux au Poivre
Honey-Bran Muffins
Mother's Biscuits
Kaiser Rolls
Pumpernickel with Cheese Heart
Grandmother's Southern Biscuits
Beaten Biscuits
Lithuanian Bacon Buns
Hot Cross Buns
Jo Goldenberg's Bagels
Celery Seed Rolls/Buns
Angel Biscuits
Mrs Macnab's Scones
Sour Skons
Pogacsa
English Muffins
Buttery Rowies
AlmondBran Muffins
Blueberry-Lemon Muffins
Sopaipillas
Popovers
Pikelets and Crumpets
Bath Buns
Egg Shell Rolls
Chelsea Buns
Oliebollen
Feta Biscuits
THE Hamburger Bun

Special Breads

Cornell
Sausage
Pulled
Hobo
Squaw
Croutons
Pain Perdu (Lost)
Bacon Batter
Tea Brack
Cherry-Studded Scone
Babka
Pompe aux Gratons
Shredded Wheat and Molasses
Gluten
Pain de Mariage
Pain au Riz
Pain Rapide au Chocolat

Thrill of Discovery

Paris: Pain Hawaiien Fauchon
Brittany: Monsieur Monfort's French Bread
Angouleme: Brioche Vendeenne
S.S. France: Petits Pains
Wichtrach: Weggliteig
Pella, Iowa: Currant Bread with Almonds
Batavia, Illinois: Limpa
Hermann, Missouri: Kaffee Kuchen
Ste Genevieve, Missouri: Black Walnut Bread

The Elegant Croissant and Brioche

French Croissant
Brioche Dough with Starter
Brioche Dough without Starter
Processor Brioche Dough
Le Havre
Cheese/
Raisin
à Tête
Camembert
aux Pruneaux
Croissant Brioche
Mousseline
Petits Pains au Chocolat

Flat and Pocket Breads

Pita
Lavash (Crisp) Lavash (Soft)
Pizza Rustica
Naan
Norwegian Flatbread
Middle Eastern Flatbread

Crackers

Plain Soda
Onion
Sesame
Swedish Oatmeal
Rich
Cheddar Cheese
Lil's Ice-Water

Storing and Freezing

What Went Wrong -- and How to Make It Right

Standard Weights and Measures

Baking for Dogs

Homemade Oven

A Recipe for Baker's Clay

Index

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First Chapter

The First Loaf

Cookbook. London, 1670

This may be your first loaf of yeast-raised bread.

You want it to be picture-perfect when it comes from the oven -- wrapped in a golden brown crust and, when cut with the knife, a creamy white slice that demands to be eaten.

Such a loaf is one that I use in teaching -- developed over a number of years to best demonstrate how easy it is to make a loaf of bread. I like this loaf so much for sandwiches and toast that there is almost always a loaf, fresh or frozen, in the house.

Blend the dry yeast with the other dry ingredients -- some of the flour, all of the sugar, salt, and nonfat dry milk -- pour in the warm liquids, and the new bread-making process begins.

This loaf is not exclusively for beginners, I hasten to add, for many longtime home bakers have made it a tradition in their kitchens. It is also versatile. While the recipe below is for an all-white bread, it is a basic loaf that can be made into a dozen different breads. There are variations of this recipe throughout the book, including Kulich, Buttermilk Bread, and others.

For the first edition of The Complete Book of Breads I developed and wrote several recipes for the new baker, to introduce the more than 300 recipes to follow. I have put the best of each of those together in this one recipe. It is a valuable introduction to the basic ingredients that the home baker will use time and again.

The beginning baker is encouraged to read the preceding chapters on techniques, ingredients, and equipment leading up to this, the first loaf. And remember, too, that if the yeast is a new fast-rising strain, make allowances for the shorter rising times.

*INDICATES NEW RECIPE

* THE FIRST LOAF

[TWO MEDIUM OR THREE SMALL LOAVES]

INGREDIENTS

5 to 6 Cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 cups hot water (120°-130°)
3 tablespoons shortening, room temperature

BAKING PANS

2 medium (8"-x-4") or 3 small (7"-x-3") loaf pans, greased or Teflon. Refer to the Dough Volume chart (page 37) for other pan combinations.

BY HAND OR MIXER 15 mins.

In a large mixing bowl measure 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and dry milk. Pour the hot water into the dry ingredients and beat by hand or with mixer flat beater to blend thoroughly. Add the shortening; continue beating. Add 1 cup flour and with a wooden spoon beat 100 vigorous strokes, or for 3 minutes at medium speed in the mixer.

If by hand, continue adding flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and stirring with a wooden spoon until it becomes a shaggy mass. Work more flour into the dough with your hands if it is sticky.

If by mixer, attach the dough hook and add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a soft, elastic ball around the revolving hook.

KNEADING 10 mins.

If by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin to knead with a strong push-turn-fold motion. Occasionally bring the dough down hard against the work surface with a sharp whack! Do this several times during the process. If the dough continues to be sticky, add light sprinkles of flour.

If using the dough hook, continue to knead for 10 minutes. If the ball of dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add sprinkles of flour. Should the dough try to climb over the protective collar at the top of the hook as it turns, hold it back with the edge of a rubber spatula.

When properly kneaded the dough will be soft and elastic. It can be pulled into a thin sheet when stretched between the hands.

A caution: too much flour will make a hard ball that will behave poorly. Work 1 or 2 teaspoons water into the dough. By the same token, if the dough is wet and slack and difficult to handle, add 1 or 2 tablespoons flour.

BY PROCESSOR 5 mins.

Attach the short plastic dough blade.

Measure 3 cups flour into the work bowl and add the sugar, salt, yeast, and nonfat dry milk. Pulse to blend. In a small bowl or saucepan pour the hot water over the shortening to soften.

With the processor running, pour the liquid through the feed tube to make a heavy batter. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a soft mass forms and is spun around the bowl by the force of the blade. The dough will clean the sides of the bowl. With the short blade some flour may cling to the bottom of the bowl. If so, stop the machine and scrape the dry ingredients into the center and continue processing.

KNEADING 60 secs.

Process to knead for 60 seconds. Stop the machine; pinch the ball of dough. If it is dry, add a small portion of water and continue kneading. If it seems wet, add flour by tablespoons. The dough, when kneaded, will be somewhat sticky and very elastic. Light sprinkles of flour will make the dough manageable. Pull and stretch the dough between your hands to test elasticity; if necessary, process for a few seconds more.

FIRST RISING 1 hour

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap to retain the moisture, and leave at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

(If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by about half.)

SHAPING 10 mins.

Turn back the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Turn it onto the floured work surface and knead for a moment or so to force out any bubbles. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces with a sharp knife.

Shape each piece into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 2 or 3 minutes. Form a loaf by pressing the ball of dough into a flat oval roughly the length of the baking pan. Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place seam down in the pan.

SECOND RISING 45 mins.

Cover the pans with wax or parchment paper and leave until the dough has doubled in volume, about 45 minutes at room temperature.

PREHEAT

Preheat the oven to 400° about 20 minutes before baking.

BAKING 400° 10 mins. 350° 25-30 mins.

Place the loaves in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350° for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Midway through baking and again at the end turn the pans end for end so the loaves are uniformly exposed to the heat.

(If using convection oven, reduce heat 50°.)

When the loaves are a golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom crust, they are done.

FINAL STEP

Turn out onto wire racks to cool. If you want a soft, tender crust, brush the hot loaves with melted butter or margarine.

This bread may be frozen for a later presentation -- up to 6 months at 0°. Toasts beautifully.

Finally, if this is your first loaf, stand back and admire your creation.

Copyright © 1973, 1987 by Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2002

    This is the end all be all of bread books!

    I have the hardback edition of this book and it is absolutely the most accurate bread book I have ever used. I have used this book so much that it is coming off the binding. He also covers making doggie biscuits, model bread, and an adobe bread oven.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003

    Breadmaking is finally FUN

    I like the way each recipe is organized for hand method, mixer or food processer. It is easy to understand the total elapsed time (effort) involved in each recipe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    Excellent Source

    There are so many great recipes and the instructions are very descriptive which is a great help for a first time bread maker.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting recipes, lack of depth of info

    Tag line pretty much sums it up. This book is a good book, good information, but it lacks a depth or breadth of information of recipes. I've tried one bread a week though, and there are some fantastic tasting specimens. I recommend having it, but would have another book on hand for more variety of recipes.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    bread book

    every recipe is easy to follow and has turned out wonderful. like the commentaries on where the recipe is from

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2008

    Wow!

    This book is an absolute joy. Clayton's tales help illustrate the history behind the breads and make this book as enjoyable as any novel. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed baking out of this book. A wonderful resource for anyone who really enjoys baking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2003

    This should have been named 'The Bread Bible'

    Even if you've never baked bread from scratch, this book will have you making perfect loaves just like your grandmother did (or should have) in no time. The writing is entertaining, the instructions clear and informative. Mr. Clayton includes instructions for hand-kneading and mixing or optional machine baking (food processer, automatic mixer). I constantly get compliments on my home-baked bread. I have not had a failed loaf since I found this book. Buy it, bake, and enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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