Confidence is key in the kitchen. I know this and I struggle with it. As I made this sliced bread from Dinner with Julie the umpteenth time, I was pressing the dough flat and I thought, “You could layer this with some butter and herbs!” Confidence struck and I went for it.
Instead of fearing that I would ruin another bread and waste ingredients, I took the jump and I am so glad I did. When I look back on this bread, I can genuinely smile and remember how it felt to create it. My conclusion: Stop fearing! There is no room for it in the kitchen (or anywhere else in life, right?!)
Bread making has to be my favorite thing to do in the kitchen and I have learned so much about the attention to detail it requires. Some quick takeaways for you;
- You can let this bread do its first rise in the fridge overnight, just make sure to bring it back to room temperature by the time its ready to go into the oven.
- Be mindful of your homes temperature. If your house is cold then use warmer water for your bread to encourage it to rise more quickly and vise versa.
- Proofing is key! On its second rise, make sure it is adequately proofed. You should be able to press the dough with your finger and see a slight spring back. Click here for the details on all things proofing.
Baking has so much to do with paying attention to the factors around you, specifically the temperature of your home and ingredients.
So what did I change from the original recipe? Butter to oil because I didn’t want to melt any. I increased the salt and flour because it felt a bit too wet and flimsy when I did the Babka style cutting and twisting. You can definitely replace the herbs and pepper for a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar after you have spread the butter or change it up with any herbs that are your families favorite.
Family Table Talk
Here is some fun information about this recipe that can be used to spur on loving and open conversations between family and friends!
What is it?
Yeast: It is fungi, just like a mushroom. It is a single-cell organism that needs to eat sugar to thrive.
Flour: All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat. Try to source a company that uses a stone ground method because it includes the bran and endosperm, providing a healthier and better cooking flour.
1. Do you prefer savory or sweet bread?
2. After cutting this bread lengthwise, what would you use to build the most amazing sandwich?
3. What is the best dish to dip bread into?
4. Instead of a savory bread bowl, what would you fill in a sweet bread bowl?!
PSA: Unfrosted donuts are really just bagels
Layered White Bread with Butter and Thyme
This will make two loaves, keep one and gift another. Adapted from Dinner with Julie’s – Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread.
*I will add metric measurements soon.
6 tbsp of unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp of ground pepper
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of yeast
2 1/2 cups of warm water, divided
7 cups of all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3 tsp of sea salt
1/4 cup of canola oil
- Butter spread: In a cup (if you have a stove top warmer) or small sauce pan, combine the butter, thyme, and pepper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add your sugar and yeast. Gently pour in 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes, until your yeast has turned frothy.
- In a separate bowl, measure out your flour and salt, whisk to combine.
- When your yeast is ready, add in half of your flour/salt mixture to the yeast, the oil and pour the remaining 2 cups of warm water in a circle, around the inside of the bowl.
- With a dough hook attachment, mix about 30 seconds to combine.
- Pour in the rest of the flour/salt mixture and knead for about 10-12 minutes. Half way through, scrape the dough off the hook. Do the window pane test at the end of 10 minutes. The dough can be a little sticky so dust your fingers with some flour before checking. When your dough is ready, tip it onto a floured surface.
- Slide your hands under the dough and slowly start encouraging a ball formation.
- Oil a large bowl and drop in your dough, turning it to fully cover it with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and drape a towel over it. Keep this in a warm area of your kitchen and let it double in size, about 60 min. Have your butter mix melted, warm not hot, when you are almost done with this first rise.
- When your dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and then tip it out onto a floured surface. Using a bench scraper, cut your dough in half.
- Keeping one dough set aside and covered with plastic wrap (you will be alternating between the two) press out your dough into about a 9×7 rectangle. Brush the top with the butter mixture and then fold your dough like a tri-fold letter, right side toward the middle and the left side on top. Seal all the edges and place aside, cover with plastic wrap. Do the same to the other dough, making sure not to turn your doughs clockwise or counterclockwise. (To get the ‘Babka’ look, you want to keep your folds going in the same direction to create layers.)
- Now lets do it all again, for your second fold. Press your dough out again but you will notice you wont be able to press it very far in length, it will be wider though. Press it down and spread the butter mixture over it, do the tri-fold again. Right and then left over right, seal and set aside. Do this to the other dough.
- Now that you have laminated your doughs twice, grab your bench scraper and cut right down the middle of each, keeping about an inch at the top connected. Take the left and wrap it over and under the right. Twist a few times and then press the ends together to seal and tuck underneath. Place them on two separate baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. Cover and let them rise again for about 20-40 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Check that they are proofed correctly, press into the dough and you should see a slight spring back once you remove your finger.
- Butter your loaves one more time before placing them into the oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until they are golden. Remove from the oven and brush your butter spread over them one last time. Let them rest an hour before cutting into them. Or like my husband, eat the whole loaf while it is still warm… true story.