Sunday, April 01, 2007

Country White Bread, Panera Cookbook

I acquired The Panera Bread Cookbook a few months ago, and have just begun exploring their recipes. First thing I will say is that they use fresh yeast in their recipes, which I think is not practical for most home bakers. The stuff goes bad quickly, and if there is a difference in flavor I don't know because I can't find fresh yeast locally.

Reviews of the book say that it has almost no recipes of the bread used at Panera Bread, but I'm still checking out a couple to see how I like them. I modified the recipe slightly due to my laziness with materials.

Country White Bread

1 cup warm water
2/3 teaspoon instant yeast
4.8 oz all purpose flour

whisk together, let ferment (recipe says 30 minutes, I gave it 3 hours)

Add to starter
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons honey (I used unrefined sugar, didn't feel like cleaning up honey today)
1 1/3 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (recipe called for shortening, again was feeling lazy)
22 oz all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt

I kneaded it all in the Kitchen Aid mixer, proofed in greasted bowl for about 2 hours until double, divided, shaped and proofed for about an hour in 2 smaller loaf pans (8.5x4.5x3.75 inches). Each loaf was about 1 lb 3 oz, and there was room to spare after the second proof so I think that it could have been put into one larger pan, or more dough used. The smaller pans are called 1 lb loaves, no clue what that means. Maybe 1 lb of flour.

Baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, internal temp read at 200 degrees (target temp 190-200). I think I could have shaved 5 minutes off and saved the top from a little extra browning.

Overall a tasty loaf, and the texture would have been great for a freestanding loaf. I may modify and play with the recipe in the future.

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