Re: Baking my first loaf…
I am fairly surprised by the number of views, but nobody’s posted so far, so allow me to take a stab at your request.
As an experienced bread baker, I’ve taught better bread baking classes for 25 years, and I have so enjoyed Rose’s Bread Bible! No matter how experienced one is, or may become, they’d benefit from the beginning and ending chapters. I also enjoy the introductions to each recipe in the book, as much the recipes I’ve tried! Aside from her vast working knowledge, she’s an entertaining writer, which is why she interests me so much, obviously others agree whole-heartedly!
As to your request… since you are fairly new to bread baking, I’d suggest these 3 straight dough recipes, all found in a row. Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf (pgs. 224-248). Butter-Dipped Dinner Rolls is another good one, with its many options (pgs. 249-255). Then Cinnamon Raisin Loaf (pgs. 260-265).
That said… my #1 favorite bread recipe (so far) from The Bread Bible, is Rose’s Authentic Pumpernickel Bread (pgs. 329-334).
I ALWAYS mill my own whole-grain flour, and in bread, coarse rye flour is almost divine. The freshness of any and all flour does indeed produce the best loaves. I use SAF RED instant yeast. Most of all, I agree with Rose that the addition of cider vinegar and a touch of molasses are musts for authentic tasting pumpernickel. This is coming from someone who’s not particularly a fan (of either). And yes, of course what’s pumpernickel, without a bit of cocoa powder? [Just rye bread.]
Instead of malt power, I commonly use honey, which works wonderful. I totally skip the espresso powder, yet the bread still tastes authentic and amazing without it (to me), others might surely disagree; I do so, for personal reasons.
I use vital wheat gluten, which always improve loaves made with whole grain flour. Often, I add lecithin granules instead of the oil, depends on whether I think a loaf might get eaten, all at one meal or not; bread with lecithin has better shelf life. (Or just be sure to freeze the leftovers immediately).
Now instead of caramel coloring powder, I always add 1-tsp liquid caramel coloring for that deep dark customary color! The added cost per loaf is low, and not so bad for the beautiful loaf of homemade pumpernickel. No one will believe you made it!
The liquid concentrated color is extremely versatile in breads, candy, desserts, cookies, frostings, bbq, glazes, gravies and more. I purchased mine from a local restaurant supply store.
There’s a website that sells it online, SpicePlace.com. If interested, in learning what other wonderful ingredients they offer; ones, which I regularly use, just ask. Here’s a link’s for the liquid caramel color. http://www.spiceplace.com/mccormick_caramel_color.php
I use fewer caraway seeds than Rose suggests (to please my hubby) and a touch less salt (which pleases me). I lightly sprinkle the risen* dough with sesame seeds, which are adhered with the optional glaze (I love this option!). It imparts a nutty flavor, and makes the loaf so lovely.
*I use parchment paper, and transfer easily with a pizza peel to my preheated baking stone. However, I prefer not to remove the parchment, or the bottom of the loaf will scorch; I just first cut the parchment way down to size, which reduces excess scorched parchment corners.
My #2 favorite recipe is Brinna’s Pugliese (pgs. 347-350), which I make in my bread machine as directed. (I might add, I make my pumpernickel in my bread machine too. Yet I won’t chill the dough starter in the fridge, for an extended ferment (to make in a bread machine). This is because the chill of the long ferment, makes the dough too firm for a bread machine to handle. Instead, I let the dough starter ferment in my cool basement, as Rose suggests (yet another great tip!). Whereas it’s fine for a heavy-duty mixer.
I have tested both recipes in a Kitchen Aid 600, but I so enjoy the convenience of an bread machine more. There those are MY two favorite recipes, which I regularly bake often!