There are so many blessing for which to be thankful on this day I hardly know where to begin so I’ll start small. My new-ish Breville mixer is such a step up from the new generation of Kitchenaid stand mixers that I’m actually thankful my previous mixer bit the dust so I could find this gem. It powers through even whole wheat dough, although today I’m just making Pida Bread from my 2-2-2 Good Bread recipe:
- 2 cups All-Purpose Bread Flour
- 2 cups Bread Flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
First, notice only one ingredient is not 2 of some standard measurement: the water. Now on to the method:
In 1/2 cup warm water, dissolve the yeast. Measure out 1 cup of room temperature water in another pitcher and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients in mixer bowl and stir well. Drop in the butter in small chips.
With the dough hook installed and the mixer running at the recommended setting for kneading bread, slowly pour in the liquids. Knead for a maximum of 10 minutes in the machine. Once the dough is formed and starting to become elastic at about 5-8 minutes, I like to take it out and finish the last bit of kneading on my bread board because I have never outgrown the joy of playing with dough. When the dough is smooth and elastic, form into a ball. Oil your rising bowl, place your ball top down first to pick up a little of the oil and then turn it upright and cover lightly with a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for about 90 minutes.
Divide and shape. If making baguettes, I shape 2 of them directly as the shaping into the baguette form adequately deflates the dough. I then place them on a baking sheet dredged with cornmeal and then sprinkle more cornmeal on top. Next, cover with waxed paper or the kitchen towel again and let rise for 30-40 minutes. Slash just before placing in oven to allow a good oven spring.
If making pida rounds, I divide the dough, round each half into a ball, gently press flat into a circle to deflate and round it up into a ball again, then let rest for 10 minutes to soften as the rounding and deflating energizes the gluten and it will fight the final shaping unless you let it rest. After the 10 minute rest, I take each ball and press into a well-greased 9-inch cake pan. Make the traditional pattern of slices on the top with a sharp knife. Brush with milk and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
Bake either style of bread in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
For easiest slicing and a crustier crust in either style, allow to cool and then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, but also delicious sliced immediately and always slathered with butter! I also have it on good authority that the baguettes make nice French Toast. It makes sense since if there is any left over, it gets stale overnight and stale bread makes the best French Toast.
Most of all, I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life with whom I love to break bread. Many thanks and love to you all, wherever you find yourself today.