This is the quickest, easiest, fluffiest and tastiest 'white' bread recipe you will ever try. Even if you are a complete novice or if you can't seem to ever get hand made bread to turn out right, you can make this bread. I guarantee it.
Make it according to the recipe the first time you make it. Then try all the variations I've listed below. You won't believe how easy, quick and GOOD this bread is. I know a bunch of people who keep coming up with new things to do with this bread. Every time I find out about a new one, I'll add it to this page.
-Combine together and let rise for 5 minutes
2 cups warm (almost hot) water - 110°F
4 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
Then add to the water/yeast mixture 1/4 cup oil ( or 1/4 cup melted butter)
While your yeast is proofing, in your mixing bowl or a large bowl whisk together:
5 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
Add yeast mixture to flour and stir in. Knead until smooth and elastic. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer w/ the dough hook to do this. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, it makes this process MUCH easier! If you use the mixer let the dough hook work for about 5 minutes. If you knead by hand it will take about 10 minutes to get the dough to a smooth elastic state.
Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place with no drafts for 25 minutes . If it is cold weather the best place to raise your dough is your oven. Turn the oven light on and turn the oven on for about a minutes and then turn it off. The oven light will keep the oven the right temperature and the dough will be out of drafts. Bread HATES drafts.
Punch down the dough and divide in half. This recipe makes two nice big loaves.
Roll out each half into a rectangle, then roll up into a loaf.
Make sure the ends are nicely tucked in and the loaf is sitting rolled side down.
Lightly slice top of bread to get diagonal cut look when baked.
Cover the loaves with a damp tea towel or oiled saran wrap and let loaves rise in a warm place with no drafts for 25 minutes. Since this dough doesn't take long to rise, doing the raise in your oven with the oven light on makes for a good place that's warm with no drafts.
Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until top of loaves are golden brown. Let bread cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing if you can keep yourself or your family away from it!!
Some technique's when making artisan homemade breads, to add a little special touch. It is called glazing. Just brush these on prior to baking.
1. Crispy Crust = lightly brush or spritz with water
2. Powdery rustic chewy crust = Flour dusted
3. Soft velvety crust = 1/2 tbsp melted butter (clarified)
4. Crisp light brown crust = 1 egg white & 1/2 tsp water lightly
beaten & strained, great for a sticky crust for attaching seeds.
5. Medium shiny golden crust = 2 tbsp egg & 1 tsp water lightly
6. Shiny deep golden brown crust = 1 egg yolk & 1 tsp heavy
cream lightly beaten.
7. Very shiny hard crust = 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch & 6 tbsp water,
whisk the cornstarch w/2 tbsp water, bring remaining water 1/4
cup to a boil and whisk in the cornstarch mixture until thick, let it
cool and brush on loaf before baking and again right as it is
comes out of the oven.
OK. Since you have made this bread the 'straight' way.........here are a bunch of suggestions. Do not hate me for bringing this bread into your life. Once you start, you will be hooked and you can kiss any restraint goodbye.
Here are a couple of loaves I made from one batch of bread. In one I put chopped garlic, rosemary, Parmesan cheese and olive oil on the bread before I rolled it up to make the loaf. Then I oiled the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkled on more garlic, rosemary and Parmesan. The other loaf I left 'plain' and simply oiled the top with olive oil and coated it liberally with sesame seeds.
If you like the idea of whole wheat you can substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat flour. But if you do you may need to add a bit of gluten, vital wheat gluten - about 1 TBL per cup of WW flour, to your bread to keep it light textured. You will need to experiment with just how much whole wheat you can add and keep a nice light loaf.
You can use this dough for pizza dough . You can use this dough for foccacia bread. Let the dough rise twice without forming it into a loaf. After the second rising cut the dough into pieces and roll it out to make pizza dough or pat it out, make dimples with your fingers and use olive oil, herbs, garlic and salt on the top and bake for focccia bread.
When you roll out the dough, roll meat and cheese in it (like a Stromboli) .
If you use any 'fillings' you will have to bake the bread a little longer, about 10 - 15 minutes longer to make sure the bread is completely done.
Slice some apples really thin and layer them in the bread with cinnamon and sugar. That would make a great breakfast loaf.
Make one with chicken, bacon, Parmesan ,mozzarella and Alfredo sauce rolled up in it. Go crazy!!
Put olive oil, Italian seasons, marjoram, minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese on before rolling and on the top.
Make Bread Bowls for soups, stews or chili. After the first rise, split one half of the dough into 4 sections and make balls out of them. Then make small slashes on the top, let it rise again and then just bake it as usual.
Italian stuffed loaf. Lots of garlic and spices IN the dough and then stuffed and rolled with cooked and crumbled Italian sausage and cheese and then grate Parmesan cheese over the tops.
Roll the dough out and sprinkle some good shredded cheddar cheese all over the dough before you roll it up.
This dough makes great breadsticks!!
After the bread has risen the first time, punch down and divide in half. You can use one half to make a regular or stuffed loaf and the other half to make breadsticks.....or make a whole bunch of breadsticks from one recipe. Here's a suggestion for soft breadsticks like the kind you would find in an Olive Garden, for instance.
Punch down the dough after the first rising and roll it out as usual. Use a pizza cutter to cut strips off the dough roughly 1-1/2 inches wide. Place the strips on a lightly oiled or parchment covered cookie sheet to let rise again. Mix some olive oil, herbs, etc. together and brush that mixture on each stick. Then sprinkle kosher salt and/or sesame or poppy seed on each one. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
If you like thinner crispy breadsticks, simply adjust the width of each strip and check after 20 minutes of baking to see how they are crisping up.
And you thought you couldn't make cinnamon rolls....
OK.....here is the 'piece de resistance' !!! Cinnamon rolls. If your family loves cinnamon rolls, make a batch of this bread, do one half as bread and the other half as cinnamon rolls. It's so easy. Simply roll out the bread as usual, paint it with melted butter and sprinkle on lots of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Roll it up into a log and cut the log into 2 inch pieces for the cinnamon rolls. Put them in a baking pan to proof and then bake as usual. Up the baking time a bit so that they get puffy and done. Here's a picture from one of the cinnamon roll batches. You can make a few or a lot of cinnamon rolls depending on how much of the Gump bread batch you use.
These would be perfect for Holiday Baking when you have relatives and friends. You can make big batches of cinnamon rolls with ease.
Now, if you want to get REALLY decadent about it........make bacon cinnamon rolls. Yes, that's right I said it BACON CINNAMON ROLLS!!!. Roll out the dough and put the butter, cinnamon and sugar on it like usual. Cut the dough in strips with a pizza cutter the width you want your cinnamon roll to be. Lay a piece of partially cooked bacon on the strip before you roll it up and put it in the pan to proof. The bacon will finish cooking in the rolls and all that bacony goodness combined with the sweet and cinnamon is amazing.
If you have never had a bacon cinnamon roll, well, you are going to think you have died and gone to heaven. If you have only ever made them with cinnamon roll dough out of a can, well the Gump bread is so much better, you won't believe you can make cinnamon rolls that turn out like bakery ones.