Friday, January 2, 2015

My Favorite Basic Bread Dough

My Favorite
Basic Bread Dough

2  Tablespoons  Instant Yeast
2-1/2  Cups  Warm Water
3/4  Cup  Sugar
3/4  Cup Melted Butter
2  Eggs
2  teaspoons  Kosher Salt
8 to 8-1/2  Cups  White Flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Yeast, Warm Water, and Sugar.  Stir, then set aside for a few minutes to allow the Yeast to 'proof', or get all bubbly and foamy. 

(Sometimes people ask "How warm should the water be?"  I, personally, always get frustrated with the answer: 105-110 degrees.  How many of us really have time to pull out a thermometer and measure the temperature of the water, anyway?  My answer to this question is: The same temperature that you would bathe a baby in.  Warm, but not too warm.  Because, just as too-hot water will burn a baby, it will also burn your yeast.  And both will result in one thing: tears, either the baby's or yours.)

Now that your Yeast has proofed, stir in the Oil, Eggs, and Salt.  Then stir in the Flour.  I like to stir it in 2-Cup increments, as I find this is easier on the arms.  Once all the Flour is incorporated into a nice dough, you have two options (I like a lot of options, don't you?).  You can lightly cover the Dough, let it rise until doubled, and work with it right away, or you can tightly cover the dough, refrigerate it overnight and deal with it in the morning.  Either way, give it a few good kneads on a well-Floured board before shaping as desired and baking. 

And here are some approximate Baking Times, all at 350*:
Dinner Rolls, 12-15 minutes, depending on size
9x13 pan Cinnamon/Sweet Rolls, 22-26 minutes

Individual Cinnamon Rolls, on a baking sheet, 13-18 minutes, depending on size.
Tea Rings, 24-28 minutes

I use this Basic Dough for all my baking.  It is a very forgiving Dough, and I alter it to fit my needs.  Dinner Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, and Tea Rings all get made with this Basic Dough. 

And then I play with it.  I swap the Liquid--Coffee to make my Mocha Sweet Rolls, half water and half Orange Juice for Honey-Orange Sweet Rolls, Apple Juice for Apple Pie Sweet Rolls; I swap the Sugar out for Honey in the Honey-Orange Sweet Rolls (I use about 2/3 Cup in these) and in the Honey-Black Bread (I use a full 3/4-Cup in the this variation); I swap out a portion of the White Flour for Whole Wheat rolls. 

Enjoy, and let me know how it goes for you!

"Give us this day our daily bread."
Matthew 6:11

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