Any Binging with Babish fans out there? If you have never watched his videos, I highly recommend them. He started out by recreating meals from movies and TV and has moved on to being just a really good cooking show. Plus he is also a Fraiser aficionado, so I feel like we are friends. He made this bread recipe in his Eggs in a Nest episode and I just thought it looked like the most perfect basic bread. Perfect for loafs, toasts, sandwiches, rolls or sliced and slathered in Nutella.
His video is great for watching the steps on how the bread is made. I didn’t knead it for as long as he did and baked it at a lower temperature, and of course made the butter substitution. But other than that, the steps are the same. Maybe I should call this recipe Basic Babish Bread?
Warning: This is not a free-form bread dough for loafs! It will fill two standard sized loaf pans or probably do quite well in a dutch oven. 24 equal sized rolls shape well in a muffin tin, but also will probably be okay free-formed if small enough. My first round with this dough I tried to do one large free-form loaf. It ended up looking like a pizza crust from one of those massive Sbarro’s pizzas in the mall. I do not recommend it.
Bread is really an interesting food; it is thousands of years old and has taken so many forms and is such an integrated part of our history and lives. It’s really a simple thing, but when you mention homemade bread to someone you immediately see an association of warmth and comfort. It really is a beautiful thing.
I saw Babish bake the bread with the sliver of parchment paper underneath so it is easy to pull out of the pan. It ends up making a beautiful gift if you leave the parchment on and tie it with a ribbon – and what a better way to spread joy?
Beautiful Basic Bread
- 400 ml (1¾ cup) Water,
very warm at approx. 110F
- 2½ tsp Instant yeast
- 650 g (5½ cups) All Purpose Flour, divided
- 50 g (¼ cup) Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- Oil, for coating
- Heat the water to 110F and place 100 ml (1/2 c) of the water In a large mixing bowl with the yeast. Add the sugar, salt, butter and half (325g) of the flour to the yeast and stir with a spatula.
- Once the dough is mixed (it will not be combined and be mostly flour) add the rest of the water and stir until a liquid batter forms. Then add the rest of the flour. Mix with the spatula until the dough is hand-able.
- On a lightly floured counter, place the dough and any loose flour from the bowl and start kneading until the dough is pliable and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Coat a large bowl with oil and roll the dough in it until the dough is completely coated with a thin layer of oil. Cover tightly with plastic warm and set somewhere warm, like the inside of your oven (turned off!), and let rise for 45 min to an hour.
- Once the dough is done rising, it should have doubled in size, remove from the bowl and shape.
- Loafs: I did two loaf pans and divided the dough into two equal pieces. Each piece I separated into 3 balls and rolled them each into a baguette shape and put them into a simple braid and tucked the ends underneath the dough. You can do any design you would like to impress your friends. Then place a piece of parchment paper in the loaf pan and lightly spray with oil. Place your designed loaf in the pan and gently cover with a tea towel or loosely place a piece of plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.
- Rolls: Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Pull the dough from the top of the ball to the bottom and pinch it underneath until the top is nice and smooth or again, find a shape that will really impress your friends. Then place in a muffin tin or on a cookie sheet and gently cover with a tea towel or loosely place a piece of plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Once your bread is done with the second rise, brush the top generous amount of the remaining butter (best if melted). Bake the loafs for 20-25 minutes and the rolls for 18-20 minutes until the top is a golden brown. Remove bread from the oven and brush with another layer of butter.
- Keep bread at room temperature for 3-4 days tightly wrapped or in an airtight container.