Standard Sandwich Loaf or Hamburger Buns © ejmorris 2000,2001,2002,2003, 2013

revised 7 September 2003 and again October 2013
adapted from a recipe in The Five Roses Cook Book "A Guide to Good Cooking" This is a variation of the recipe that my mother always made. Many thanks to her for a multitude of things, only one of which includes giving this recipe to me.

Ingredients makes three loaves OR two loaves and 6-8 buns
(our bread tins are roughly 9.5x5.5x3 inches - long/wide/deep)
Preparation
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and 6 Tbsp lukewarm water (do the baby's bottle test on your wrist) til creamy. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, with a wooden spoon mix together the milk, the rest of the water, sugar and oil. (The original recipe called for scalded milk. This is an unnecessary step with the way that milk is pasteurized today.)

  3. Add all but ½ cup of all-purpose flour and the yeast mixture to the large bowl and stir just enough to mix it together. Cover with plastic and leave for about 20 minutes.

  4. After 20 minutes has passed, put some of the remaining ½ c flour on your board for kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto the board. Sprinkle the salt overtop of the dough.

  5. Wash and dry your mixing bowl. This allows the dough to rest AND gets your hands clean.

  6. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until it is smooth and silky. As you knead, add as little flour as you dare to stop the dough from sticking. Scrape away any dough that is on the board and discard it. When the dough is kneaded, shape it into a tight, round ball.

  7. Put the dough in the clean mixing bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise in a no-draught place for 1 to 1½ hours. When the dough has doubled, gently push it down and allow to rise to double again. (about an hour). A good way to tell if it has doubled is to wet your finger and poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn't risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.

  8. When the dough has doubled the second time, turn it out onto the lightly floured board. Divide it in three equal pieces. Make three smooth balls and allow to rest for ten minutes. Then shape into rectangles and roll like jelly rolls to make 2 loaves. Put them seam side down in oiled loaf tins. Cover with plastic wrap then a damp towel and let rise again to almost double (30 to 45 minutes).

    If you are making buns, divide one portion of dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Shape each into balls and place them seam side down on parchment covered cookie sheets. Set them about 2 inches apart. Let rest for a few minutes then flatten each ball til it is about half the size of the bun you want to have. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean towel and let rise again to almost double (30 to 45 minutes).

  9. Thirty minutes before you are going to bake, turn oven to 450F.

  10. Just before putting the bread or buns in the oven, spray the tops of the loaves liberally with water. Sprinkle sesame seeds overtop if you wish. Put bread on the second to bottom rack of the oven; put buns on the middle rack of the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is hollow sounding on the bottom. You will probably have to turn the bread around once to account for uneven heat in the oven.

  11. Remove bread from pans and cool on sides on well ventilated racks. Wait til the bread is cool before cutting and/or storing it.

Adding a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed and/or a handful of rolled oats is a very nice addition and does not compromise the texture of the bread. This bread can also be shaped and baked free-form on a stone.

Uneaten bread should be stored at room temperature rather than refrigerated. (The refrigerator causes the bread to go stale faster.) Bread can also be stored in the freezer - double bagged airtight plastic. Take it out of the freezer and leave it in the bag until the bread has thawed.

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