My Girlfriend Kelly sent me a recipe for basic white bread. In her email she said, “I figured you might be appalled when you realized that the white bread recipe calls for powdered sugar! Not something you would want to serve for everyday meals, but hey, worth a try. I think it tastes great.”
Um, Kelly, dear. The half cup of powdered sugar didn’t faze me, but the quart of half-and-half did! (Though not for very long. I must have a thing for trying out crazy rich food, see “Going Overboard”—I just have to know.)
The recipe is called Basic White Bread, and white it is—white flour, white salt, white milk, white sugar, white half-and-half, almost-white butter. I know it’s not good to eat too many white foods—we’re supposed to have whole grains and colorful veggies and such. But white bread is so good. Grilled cheese, toasted with butter and homemade sour cherry jam, French toast, bread pudding... Must I justify everything I do? Can’t I just enjoy some plain white bread? My conscience kept rearing it’s nagging head, so I stomped on it once and for all and made the bread.
And it was beautiful.
And then I got to thinking, the color white isn’t bad. In fact, white means purity and holiness and heavenly-ness and—angels. Angels! Angels are good, right? At least the ones dressed in white. So maybe, just maybe, if I call it Angel Bread instead of Basic White Bread, everything will be okay. Conscience! Get your teeth out of my ankle!
I’ll still make my brown bread, most of the time, okay?
Adapted from a recipe that my Girlfriend Kelly sent to me from a book called Beautiful Breads and Fabulous Fillings by Margaux Sky
Despite the rich ingredients, this is really just a very basic white bread recipe, but it’s also very good.
The original recipe said it made four loaves, but you can see from the pictures that they were giant loaves. I’d shape it into five or six loaves, next time. (Ouch! That obstinate conscience of mine has some sharp fangs!)
2 tablespoons yeast
4 cups warm milk
4 cups warm half-and-half
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup powdered sugar
16 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons salt
Dissolve the yeast in the milk and half-and-half, and let sit until the yeast is foamy. Add the butter and powdered sugar.
Add the salt and flour and knead till soft and tender.
Place the dough in a large bowl that has been either dusted with flour or greased with butter, cover with a towel, and let rise until double.
Divide the dough into five or six portions, depending on how big your loaf pans are, shape the dough into loaves, and place them in well-greased pans. Cover the loaves with a cloth and let them rise until almost double. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 or 40 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove the loaves from the pans...
...and let them cool before putting them into plastic bags.
One bite of it toasted, with lots of butter and homemade jam, and you will be transported to the heavenly realms.