No Fail White Bread (with Cinnamon Rolls listed near the bottom)
(This recipe may seem long, but most of it is just tips I got from Bakers)
5-6 Cups Unbleached White flour
(or substitute up to 2 cups Whole Wheat at the beginning)
2 Tbs. lard, shortening or butter (no margarine Especially not BECEL!)
2 Tbs. Sugar (or Honey – add honey with liquids)
¼ to 1/3 cup Dry Milk Powder 2 Tbsp (optional)
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. Salt
2 Cups hottest tap water
1. In large bread bowl, by hand or stand up mixer, combine 2 cups flour (all white or 1 cup white, 1 cup WW) and all the dry ingredients.
2. Mix well, and add 2 cups hottest tap water, beating vigorously until well combined. (Don’t be afraid for the yeast, it’s well cushioned in the dry ingredients)
3. Add fat, beating until pretty well combined.
4. Add one more cup flour (White or WW) beat vigorously for 3 minutes.
5. Add remainder of flour, ½ cup at a time, incorporating well, until dough just starts to clump in the middle of the bowl.
(Contrary to popular recipes, if your dough completely cleans sides of bowl, you have added too much flour – I got this tip from a Baker, and found it to be right on.) The amount of flour you use will vary greatly on the humidity in the air, thus on the time of year. Springtime, I may use the full 6 cups, whereas in Summer I may only use a scant 5 cups. To measure my flour, I just dig my cup in the barrel, then level off with a knife. This works well with this recipe, because I can quickly see the results and judge what I need by the feel and look of the dough. With a Bread Machine, you have to follow the old fashion way of spooning it in the cup and levelling off, or using sifted flour.
6. When the dough is still fairly tacky, but not gooey, transfer to needing board, or put kneading paddle on mixer, and kneed 8-10 minutes by machine, 8-15 minutes by hand, until smooth and elastic. Get a good rolling motion going, turning dough ¼ turn after each roll, and don’t be afraid to slam the dough down on the board on occasion. All this serves to activate the gluten in the dough, which is vital for good bread.
7. When it is smooth and elastic, form into ball, and roll in greased bowl turning greased side of dough up. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a fairly warm area until doubled in size.
8. Pan Prep: I use a cooking spray on my pans as I find it works the best versus butter, oil, etc.
9. SHAPING: Once it doubles in size, resist the urge to punch it down – this will only reactivate the gluten too early and will make your dough harder to shape (Baker’s tip again). After you have gently put it on the work surface, cut into twelve pieces for buns; in half for two sandwich loaves; or take a third and cut into 8 pieces and place in greased angel food cake pan to create a really pretty roll ring, and cut the other third in 8 for nice sandwich buns.
When placing the twelve buns on a large greased cookie sheet, press each roll down firmly with the palm of your hand, but don’t squash them. This proper pressing will give more of a sandwich bun effect instead of a roll. (Don’t worry, they will still rise very nicely and will be nice and light) When these are laid out on a large cookie sheet, they don’t touch each other, and they create twelve nicely sealed buns that stay fresher, longer, and they freeze very well.
Whichever you choose, spray top with Pam Spray, cover lightly with plastic wrap or a bag, let rise in a warm spot until double and bake at 400F.
Buns 16-25 minutes
Bread 20-35 minutes (All depends on altitude above or below sea level).
After the first couple of times, you’ll have the proper time figured out, and it remains quite stable. Just watch them after the minimum time until they get nicely golden, and you get a hollow sound when you tap the tops.
1. This recipe can also be used to make 2 medium pizzas, or 2 medium pans of cinnamon rolls, or whatever else you might come up with.
2. Healthy: At the beginning, use 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat to start, plus ½ cup rolled oats, and 1/3 cup Red River, Sunny Boy Cereal, or mixed grains. Continue as listed, but reduce flour accordingly.
Favorite Variation: Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe provides a less dense variation than traditional cinnamon rolls. I use 1/2-cup sugar , but honey is nicer, but keep the rest of the ingredients the same (You can; however, substitute 3-4 cups of the white flour for whole wheat. I just tried this and they turned out yummy too.) Cut the dough in half, then roll each half into roughly 6″ wide by however long pieces. The thickness should be about 1/4 to 3/8″. It will take about 1/2 cup of melted butter to brush over the entire surface to within 1/2 inch of edges. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon liberally over buttered surface, then if you’d like, roughly chopped pecans. Roll the dough on the long side to form the long roll, starting on one edge, then work your way back and forth till the roll is complete. Pinch the exposed, ungreased edge to the outside of the roll to seal. With a sharp knife, cut them about 1 inch wide, and place on cookie sheet that has either been grease or has baker’s parchment paper on it. This little trick saves HUGE amount of sticky clean up! Lay them on the sheet so they just barely touch. This makes almost 2 large cookie sheets.
Bake in over roughly 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Frost warm rolls.
Simpler (Cheaper) Frosting Variation:
I just use icing sugar and water to desired consistency and drizzle right out of the mixing bowl onto the warm rolls. It takes about 4 cups icing sugar and ½ to ¾ cup water.