It’s weird, but I feel just ever-so-slightly miffed whenever we buy bread from the store. Sure, there are many great independent bakeries in our city, and even the store-bought stuff can be decent. But I know how to make the staff of life, and I like to provide for my family. So, when we couldn’t find anything to make toast with in our freezer, I made this plain white loaf.
The recipe comes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. As with almost all of the loaves in the book, the kneading time in the mixer is extended, 30 minutes in this case. During shaping, I tucked the two long ends underneath the bread. This wasn’t called for in the book, and it turned out to be a mistake as it caused the baked bread to have a little kink on each end.
I only applied the egg wash as I started to preheat the oven. This didn’t seem to affect the end result. After about 2 hours, the bread had fully risen over the edge of the Pullman pan. It touched the lid as I slid it on. During baking, I actually heard one edge of the pan pop off! Next time, I’ll keep a closer eye on the rising, instead of just watching the clock. I think the goal here is to have the dough spring in the oven to fill the pan exactly. For that to happen, it needs to bulk ferment until it almost reaches the edge of the pan.
The baked loaf is a beauty, nicely brown all over, with a nice, fine, even crumb. It tastes a little richer than normal “Wonder” bread, and made great toast.