You might be asking “Another recipe for white bread?” Didn’t you already make that? Yup. However, this one is different from the Classic Sandwich Bread recipe: it has slightly more proofing time and it uses compressed yeast. Well, what exactly is compressed yeast?
Compressed yeast is also known as cake or fresh yeast. Generally, it is light brown in color and is sold in foil wrapped blocks (cakes). Although it is highly perishable, you can easily tell whether it’s fresh by breaking the compressed yeast into smaller pieces. Fresh compressed yeast will also crumble easily, while expired compressed yeast will be gummy and sticky.
So why use compressed yeast? It activates more quickly than other types of yeast and stays active for longer periods of time. I also found it gave the loaves a “sweeter” taste. Give this recipe a try and let me know if you like working with compressed yeast. Besides, is there ever such a thing as too much bread? Not for me. Enjoy!
Basic White Bread Loaves
(Yield: 2-8″ loaves)
- 25 g compressed yeast
- 365 g warm water
- 560 g bread flour
- 23 g shortening or butter
- 33 g sugar
- 18 g milk powder
- 10 g salt
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pinch of salt
- Break up the compressed yeast into small pieces and add to a mixing bowl with the warm water. Mix for 2-3 minutes until most of the yeast is dissolved.
- Add the flour to the mixture making sure that all of the liquid is covered by the flour. Then add the sugar, shortening, milk powder, salt and mix on the lowest setting using a dough hook.
- Once a dough begins to come together, increase the mixer’s speed and knead the dough with the dough hook for approximately 5-7 minutes. The dough should become smoother and pull away from the sides of the bowl towards the end. The temperature of the dough should be about 84F once removed from the bowl.
- Form the dough into a ball, lightly flour all sides, cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes.
- At the end of the 45 minutes, the dough should have grown in size and be puffy. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and punch down to release the gases. Divide the dough into two balls each weighing 500 grams, lightly flour the dough balls, cover in plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and punch down the balls to release the gases. Shape each ball into an oval loaf shape. Do this by partially flattening the dough ball and then rolling it into an oval shape.
- If using a loaf pan, slightly tuck the ends of the dough underneath and place into greased loaf pan, seam side down. Gently pat the loaf into the pan. Brush the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
- To create a free-form loaf, pat down the dough and roll into an oval shape. Roll out both ends of the loaf so that it has a slightly pointy shape. Place onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Egg wash the dough and then make 2-3 diagonal cuts into the loaf. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
- Place the loaves into the oven to proof for approximately 10 minutes. You can do this if you have a proof button on your oven or by creating a steamy environment in the oven and keeping the temperature around 100F.
- Pre-heat oven to 395F
- Place loaves into the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The loaves will be a golden brown color and have an internal temperature of 190F when done.
Recipe notes: This recipe has to proof several times so make sure you have enough time once you get going. If you don’t have a “proof” button on your oven, you can turn your oven into a proofing box by preheating the oven to 400F with a pan of water inside. Once the steam gets going and the internal temperature reaches 100F, turn off the oven and put your loaves inside. Don’t let your oven come all the way to 400F; the yeast will die if the oven is too hot.
(Source: George Brown Baking Arts: Art of Breads)