Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baking with Julia: White Loaves

It's finally here! Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia has begun!

About a month ago, I signed up to be a part of Tuesdays with Dorie, a virtual baking club attempting to tackle Dorie Greenspan's 450+ page Baking with Julia. Twice a month, along with my fellow Tuesdays with Dorie bakers, I will be posting a recipe from BwJ selected by the group. Most weeks, I will simply share my pictures and thoughts, not the actual recipe itself. That right is reserved for the host(s) of the week. I could not be more thrilled to be part of such a great group. Let the adventure begin!

This one came out a little funky shaped

First up: white loaves. What better recipe to start with than the most basic of basic breads, your standard white sandwich loaf. I have to say, I'm not normally a fan of white bread. I often find it bland and one-dimensional, but this recipe definitely has some depth of flavor to it, which I appreciate. It's also pretty basic in terms of technique, as long as you have a stand mixer with a dough hook or strong arms, if you plan on kneading it by hand. However, you do need a fair amount of time (about 4 hours), given that it needs to rise twice to really give the yeast some time to develop dimension and flavor. But I promise that the end result is worth the effort.

My medium loaf and baby loaf

Although the recipe makes 2 large loaves, I ended up with the three bears of white bread—a big loaf, a medium loaf, and a baby loaf (that's what happens when you have no 2 loaf pans the same size). But they all turned out amazingly. This bread would make an excellent base for a hefty lunch sammie or the perfect vessel for some morning Nutella. The options are endless. Case in point: in the past 2 hours, I've consumed nearly the entire medium loaf, simply toasted and slathered with butter. Pretty amazing.

I have to say, this was a simple recipe, but one that I was thrilled to start my BwJ experience with. Baking bread, while not as sexy whipping up a decadent chocolate cake or as impressive as putting together an elegant fruit tart, will always hold special meaning for me. When I was growing up, my mom was a hardcore baker and bread was her specialty (she milled her own flour...pretty intense). I remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread every weekend, and some of my best childhood memories are of my mom in my kitchen. Since she passed away over 10 years ago, baking has become a huge part of my life and a way for me to remember her. This is especially true for baking bread. I even use all of her old equipment—rolling pin, loaf pans, mixing bowls. And inevitably when that first aroma of fresh bread begins to waft from the oven, I can't help but think of her.

Lovely crisp exterior with a soft pillowy inside

Bon appetit!

Source: Baking with Julia, recipe can be found here, thanks to Laurie and Jules for hosting


  1. I love the three little bear loaves concept. I love how time in the kitchen has the power to connect us back to so many memories.