Kim Knemeyer is a Las Vegas cookier who has graced me with her presence on several occasions. On one of those occasions, she brought me the most delicious cinnamon swirl bread. So, because I am sometimes a genius, I asked her to write a blog post about bread baking! So no more loafing around this summer, let’s bake bread!
Hello my fellow cookiers and hopefully bread bakers too!
You may know me from Facebook as Kim Huston Knemeyer or by my cookie name, Kim’s Confections. I was so excited when asked to do a blog post about bread! Not only do I love eating bread, I really enjoy making it. I’m one of those weirdos who eats something and thinks “Hmmm, I wonder if I could duplicate that.” I love the challenge of bread because there are so many types ranging from the very simple to the very technical. And because I like to share my love of baking bread, I also occasionally teach a beginner bread baking class in my home.
Was I a natural at bread baking? No! My first attempt was a whole-wheat loaf and let me tell you, it made a better door stop than sandwich. But that didn’t stop me, because I love a challenge. I immediately did an online search which led me to the King Arthur Flour website. It really opened my eyes! Years before, I had received the catalog and perused its amazing products, but I didn’t realize they also hosted this amazing community of bakers who were more than willing to help with any baking issue (kinda sounds like another wonderful community we know and love). The bakers were amazing, and taught me about the science of baking bread. Think about all of the forms bread takes throughout the world. When you realize that most start with flour, water, salt and yeast, it boggles the mind!
Now, do you have to get up at the crack of dawn and toil over your bread all day kneading and shaping? No, you don’t. There is a bread for every type of baker. I’m lucky because I run my cookie business from home, so my bread baking can take any form I’m in the mood for. But if you aren’t in my position, there are recipes and tools to help with that. How many of you have owned a bread machine? How many of you have baked a few loaves and then never used it again? What if I told you I never bake in my bread machine? Crazy, huh? Don’t get me wrong, I love mine so much, I got it a sibling! I am the proud owner of two Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machines (fondly known as the Cadillac of bread machines). But I never bake in them. I use my machines on the dough cycle for mixing and doing the first rise. I then take out the dough, shape it, let it do its final rise and then bake it in my oven. I like doing most breads this way because it easily allows me to schedule my bread baking around the other things I have to do. I know that in that 1 hour and 50-minute time period, the ingredients will be slightly warmed, mixed, punched down and risen in a perfect environment. I also know that simple rolls and basic loaves, can be completed in about 3 hours.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is the one I used for my first successful loaf. It’s also the recipe I teach in my classes. Although created initially as a burger bun recipe, it adapts to many forms such as rolls, hot dog buns, bread loaves and cinnamon swirl bread. I know I spoke of my bread machines, but you can also do this recipe by hand or in a mixer (preferably using a bread hook). This recipe created quite a buzz when first posted to King Arthur Flour’s baking community and soon became a favorite. It’s soft, slightly sweet and very forgiving! You can also customize it by adding spices. My favorite is adding some herbs de Provence when making rolls. Just a hint of flavor, but not too overwhelming. I hope my post has inspired you to make a loaf or rolls soon. Now excuse me, I have a roll that needs a slathering of butter and orange blossom honey!
You can find me at kimsconfectionslv on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Ellen’s Famous white bread
1 cup water
2 tbsp. butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2-3 tsp. instant yeast
Ellen’s Hawaiian Bread
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. butter, softened
3 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. instant potato flakes
1 tsp. salt
pinch of ginger
3 tsp. yeast
Bread Machine Method: Place wet ingredients in bucket first. Next, place flours, sugars and other ingredients next, except for salt and yeast. Then place salt off to one side and yeast in an indentation in the center. Select dough cycle and then run.
Mixer Method: Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl except for salt. Combine with paddle attachment. Add salt and combine. Add remaining ingredients and combine until dough starts to leave the side of the bowl. Switch to dough hook and knead for around 6 minutes on low-medium, scraping the dough to the center of the bowl once. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, and cover the container. Place in a semi-warm spot away from drafts and allow to rise to double it’s size, about an hour.
For Sandwich Loaf: Preheat oven to 350º. Gently deflate dough and press into a rectangle. Fold over top third if dough and press seam with heel of palms. Fold over another third, press and repeat again. Place dough in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered. Bake for another 10 covered with foil to prevent over-browning. Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
For Cinnamon Swirl Loaf: Preheat oven to 350º. Gently deflate dough and press into a large rectangle. Combine cinnamon filling mix and water with a whisk until no lumps appear. Spread over dough leaving a 1” border around edges. Tightly roll dough and tuck under ends. Place dough in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap loosely and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool.
For Hamburger Buns: Preheat oven to 375º. Depending on the size you want, divide dough into 10-12 pieces. Slap each piece into a bun shape. Usually 4 or 5 slaps will do it. Place on greased cookie sheets or bun pans and cover loosely with plastic wrap; rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till golden. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
For Dinner Rolls: Preheat oven to 375º. Divide into 12 to 24 pieces (I do 16), depending on the size you like. Shape into balls and spray pan with nonstick spray. For 12 rolls, place in a 8” x 8” square pan; for 16 rolls either 2 8” round cake pans or a 9” x 13” pan; and for 24 rolls in a 9” x 13” pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap let rise until doubled, from 30 to 45 minutes. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.