If you have read any of my posts in the cookbook, you will already have discovered that I love cheap white bread. In the movie "The Golden Door", the new immigrants on Ellis Island are given a meal. The bread is the soft white bread that is still common in the US. They say to each other that it is like eating a cloud after looking at is skeptically. (This film is a MUST SEE for members of any immigrant family.)
I cannot help it. I cannot defend it. But I do love it. Of course, I love all the dense and flavorful breads that are available all over the world. English Balloon Loaves and Sweet Meal Bread from England. Fried English Muffins, French Baguettes and Batards, any Italian bread, Syrian Bread, and the unleavened bread from Turkey. It is stretched paper thin in a circle, then spread with curds(cottage cheese might do.) and wild herbs. A second layer of bread is sandwiched on top and sealed around the edges. Then they fry the bread on a seasoned, nearly dry cast iron surface. The two halves puff up into a ball with the curds inside...sublime and so exotic.
If you love bread and baking, you must find(IF POSSIBLE) "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" by Elizabeth David...it is the very best.
How can I inspire confidence in my taste with this obvious weakness for white bread.
I cannot eat a Hot Dog without a white roll. I love buttered bread with garlicky lentils sandwiched inside. God help me, I can even stomach fried baloney sandwiches with plenty of yellow mustard as long as there is cheap white bread.
So, I was caught without rolls today. I was going to have the rest of a package of Hot Dogs with some grilled peppers and onions, finished with Salsa. But there was no white bread or rolls.
The answer is quite simple. You could either make a batter bread, or simply over raise the bread as they obviously do in our bakeries to look like more than there really is.
I used my favorite quick bread recipe which is found elsewhere in the blog as Pizza Dough. I will repeat it here to save searching.
Warm 1 cup of water to high Baby Formula temperature. Pour it into a large bowl with a tablespoon of white sugar to dissolve. I do not like the flavor of honey in my bread if it is to be used for savory purposes.
Sift over it 1 Tablespoon of granulated yeast and stir to dissolve.
Allow to sit in a warm place to proof.
In about 15 minutes, this should produce a beige foam on top of the water.
Add about a tablespoon of Olive Oil, other oil or melted butter.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Stir in and whisk 1 1/2 cups of all purpose(UNBLEACHED) white flour. Beat till smooth.
Add an additional cup a bit at a time till the batter has lost much of its tackiness and gathers up around the spoon you stir it with. Use as little as possible!
Turn out onto a floured counter and knead. Add flour till it is just losing its "tack". Again, use as little as possible to make it handle-able. Knead till you are exhausted!
Oil a large bowl and drop the well kneaded dough into the bottom and turn once till it it coated with the oil.
Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm place to rise.
In about an hour(or less) it will have doubled in size. Gently deflate the dough and remove from the bowl. Knead a few times till smooth again.
Cut off Lime/Lemon sized pieces of dough. Pull any thin ends to the center of the ball, pull the front surface to the eventual bottom of the roll and pinch hard to seal into balls. Roll each piece between your palms till it forms a log that will just fit into the bottom of a loaf pan that has been lightly greased or sprayed.
About six will fit into a pan. This will make 12 rolls.
The trick here is to allow the rolls to rise to triple their size. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool till just warm and using a serrated bread knife, cut a slit along the length of the rolls, almost to the bottom to hold the Hot Dogs.
Similarly made dough can be rolled out to about half an inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut out with a large cookie cutter or a knife to hamburger size or a little smaller. It will mostly grow up, but it will also grow in diameter Place the disks on a greased cookie sheet with some room between them. Cover with a flour coated tea towel(just powder the cloth with flour and rub the flour into it, or dust the tops of the disks with a sifter of flour). Gather up the rest of the dough and knead to form any loaf you wish to bake alongside the others.
Again, allow them to rise to triple in thickness. Bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes or less then check them to see if they are done. This might be the perfect opportunity to steal one to eat, even if a bit doughy, slathered with butter and jam!
Turn out onto a rack. Cool completely and cut in half horizontally with a serrated bread knife. Saw, rather than pressing with the knife so it does not crush the bread.