It was during this era that sliced bread was born in 1912 when Otto Frederick Rohwedder worked on a machine that sliced the bread automatically and Viola! it became a big hit.
The 20th century saw an increase in bread production with white grain being consumed by the rich. Eventually the trend to make whole grain bread grew and today bread making also incorporates the use of chemical additives(L-cysteine and Sodium metabisulfite) to reduce the time for fermentation. The availablility of quick rising yeast in supermarkets made it much easier for home cooks to bake nutritional domestic bread right in their kitchen. With the appearance of the innovative appliance -the "bread machine" which will even do the kneading for you the choices of bread are wide-- from baguettes, ciabatta, matzah, focaccia, honey wheat, multi-grain, sourdough, tortilla, chapathis, rotis, parathas, naans to pumpernickels, appams, bagels to arepas, pitas, injeras, challahs to Brioches. Well, there is no excuse for anyone not to make homemade bread!! I prefer the artisan breads baked at the local bakery as compared to retail store bread for the crusty taste!
I love to bake fresh bread when warm weather makes an appearance. The aroma permeates through the nooks and corners of my home.....so I put those two favorite things together and baked a slightly different bread this time brioche- a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa ....
Mmmm what a wonderful smell!!
It's my bread baking.....I wish you could smell it right through your computer screen:)
1/2 cup warm water
1 package yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 tspn Kosher salt
11/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg beaten for egg wash
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an kitchen aid mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix with spoon until dissolved and let stand fir 5-10 mins until it blooms.
Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 min until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 mins. With the mixer still on low add 2 1/4 more cups of flour and mix for another 5 mins.
Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day. allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile grease a loaf pan and set aside.
Place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the softened butter in small chunks and mix for 2 mins. adding additional flour as needed to make a round ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide into two portions. Roll out the first half into small rounds as big as oranges. Now seperate the second half and braid like you braid your hair holding togther three strands of dough placing the braid into a medium loaf pan.
Butter a cookie sheet and keep aside. Roll the smaller balls into strands and make a small knot and place on the cookie sheet until all the balls of dough are used up. Make sure to keep them at least 2 inches apart.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the rolls have risen to double the size brush the top of each with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool.
I served the brioche with Nutella and homemade Strawberry butter. The leftover bread is excellent for burgers.
When the dough in the loaf pan has also doubled in size, brush the top with the rest of the egg wash and place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes at the same temperature depending on the oven and the size of your loaf pan.
To go with the moist Broiche I made some fresh Strawberry butter with 3-4 fresh strawberries cut up and 1/2 tsp sugar and 2 Tblpns softened butter. Whip this up really well and smear over a slice of this awesome bread...... or just nibble away with knobs of nutella!!