Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vienna Snack Loaves

This recipe is one of my absolute favorites. It's a versatile boat bread recipe that can be shaped into 2 large italian style loaves, 3 medium everyday cut bread with butter and cheese loaves, 4 large hoagie buns, or 8 sandwich rolls. I usually make a half recipe, which is what follows, mostly because if you're in warm weather the bread will mold before you can eat it all if you do a whole recipe. You can double it though if you have fridge space, or you're having company, or you just feel like being nice by delivering a warm loaf to someone. The recipe comes out of my favorite bread cookbook, The Red Star Centennial Bread Sampler, which is out of print but if you ever find it at a used bookstore I highly recommend you pick it up. Mine is heavily taped up from all the years of use.


2-3/4 to 3 cups bread flour
1 package instant yeast
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp slt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbl water
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbl butter


In a large mixing bowl stir together1-1/4 cups of the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Set aside.

 Heat water, milk and butter in a small saucepan until it reaches 120°. The butter does not need to melt. I've been using a trigger style infrared thermometer to test the liquid with, one that we bought to use on the engine but it works really great for bread as well.

Mix the heated liquids into the dry ingredients and beat for 3 minutes with either a hand mixer or a wooden spoon. It should get totally smooth and bubbles should begin to appear. I've been using a kitchen timer app on my phone that works pretty well.

Add enough of the rest of the flour in by hand to make a soft dough. It will be sticky as you work it with the spoon but should begin to take the shape of a ball and to clean off the sides of the bowl. Put a little flour onto your work surface and begin to knead the bread. Knead it for 5-8 minutes or until it gets elastic and smooth. If you have never kneaded bread you can watch my video and instructions in the Thin Crust Pizza Recipe for help. Clean your bowl and oil the inside of it. Put your ball of dough in the bowl and turn it over so the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with foil and then keep it somewhere warm and free of drafts until it doubles in bulk. You can make a warm space by turning on your oven for a few minutes and then turning it off and putting the bowl inside, or by setting it on a heating pad or a hot water bottle. It will take 30-60 minutes to double depending on the ambient temperature. It should look like this.

 After the dough has doubled, take your fist and punch it down in the middle. Then take the edges and fold them to the middle and work around until all the air bubbles are gone.
 Cut the dough into two pieces. Press one piece into a rectangle about ten inches long by 5 inches wide.
Start rolling the long edge toward you and press it into the remaining dough along the bottom ede of the roll. Try not to trap any air bubbles into the roll.
When it's all rolled up, turn it over and pinch the edge together.
 Place the pinched edge down on a square of parchment paper cut to fit your pan and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cut diagonal slits into the top with a sharp knife.
Take the other half of dough and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Press each piece out into a small rectangle and roll it toward you like the loaves. If you want longish rolls then stop there. If you want rounder rolls then take that mini loaf and begin to roll it from one end to the other, pinching as you go and sealing it like the loaf on the bottom.
 Grease the tops of the loaves and/or rolls with olive oil or cooking spray.
Put them in a warm place free of drafts until they're almost doubled in size. If you are not preheating your oven in order to save propane, then you want to start to bake them when they are a little less raised. They will finish raising as the oven preheats. This can take some experimenting on time so I suggest that the first time you make this recipe that you preheat your oven.

Bake them from 20-35 minutes, again depending on your oven. Cool completely before slicing or they will crush. This is a very tender, moist bread.

If you have troubles, know that yeast bread failures are usually a fault of one of these situations: your liquids are too hot and you have killed the yeast, you are using old yeast, you are using self-rising flour, or you have tried to raise the bread somewhere drafty. 

If you have any other difficulties please feel free to email me, svkintala att gmail dott com.

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