Forget Chicken Soup for the Soul
When I’m down, stressed, or depressed, making bread is my happy place. Really, is there anything bad about homemade bread? Kneading is therapeutic and helps me work through stress. You get to punch something midway through. The smell is utter comfort. Nothing is better than homemade bread. And yet it is one of the things people fear to make the most. If this is you, than this recipe is for you.
The first time I brought this bread to Church for them to use as the sacrament bread, afterwards, the member of my Bishopric got up and said, “I know this is completely inappropriate, but wasn’t that the best sacrament bread you’ve ever had. This recipe really honestly is the best. Everyone loves it.
The most exciting thing about this recipe is that I’m introducing you to my sous vide proofing technique. This is something I’ve been doing for a year and is something that I know will change your bread making life. If you are an established bread maker or new to making bread.
Three Steps to Perfect Bread
I make this bread a lot. At least one or two times a week. And now, I’ve taught my son to make it. It is incredibly easy and everyone loves it. It is sweet and moist and almost impossible to mess it up. Here are my top three tricks to making Amish White Bread.
Proof Your Yeast
Measure out your water, and get it until it is just hot enough for a baby bottle. Seriously, that’s the perfect temperature. I nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds, test it then do it for 10 second intervals until it is just right. Usually 30 seconds is just enough for water that wasn’t cold to begin with (lukewarm). Add the sugar, then add the yeast and stir. Let the yeast water sit for 10 minutes and it will get a lovely foamy head on it, like a soda just poured from the can.
Don’t Use Too Much Flour
The original recipe for Amish White Bread calls for 6 cups of flour. I found that my dough was a bit dryer than I’d like. It should almost be silky and there shouldn’t be any flour leftover at the bottom after you’re done combining it. If you are using a mixer to mix/knead your dough, you will know when there is enough flour cuz the bowl should be clean. But I’ve found that with my flour in my house (did you know the humidity level of your house can influence how much flour you need?) 5 cups is enough. I keep the other cup on hand in case I accidentally used a bit too much water or because the dough is super sticky and I need to add more. When I do add more I do it in small amounts, until the dough is easy to handle but still soft and moist to the touch. When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of too wet, than too dry.
Sous Vide Proofing Your Dough
If you’ve read my blog almost at all you know that I love my sous vide. One year ago (almost exactly), I was laying in bed thinking about my sourdough bread (blog posts to come on making that!) and how to control the temperature of the dough and my starter when it is so flipping cold out. Baking is about controlling variables so you can get a consistent product every single time. Temperature for proofing, unless you own a proofer, is something that I was concerned about. During the winter my kitchen gets very cold. Then it hit me, I have a device that controls temperature within a tenth of a degree! And it worked! Sous vide proofing was born! Every time I checked, my dough was kept at exactly the temperature of the water. (The picture below is from my first experiment with this.)
All you are going to do is have your dough in a sealed container when it is rising and partially submerge (I like the water to come up at least 2/3s the side of the container). I weigh mine down with the weights that go to my son’s weight bench. It works. I have a 20 quart Cambro container that is AWESOME for this. This is LIFE CHANGING and very easy to do. I’m going to do a separate video this weekend to show exactly how to do this. But it is done in the video for the Sous Vide Proofing Amish White Bread.
I am officially starting to make videos to go with my recipes. I’m new to it, and there’s a lot to improve, but I hope you enjoy it. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and give the video a thumbs up. More videos are to come, I have so much fun stuff planned.