I love bread. Sinking my teeth into a warm buttered slice of fresh bread is one of my greatest joys in life. Most weeks I devote 3 hours to baking fresh bread so that I don't have to shell out almost $5 for a barely passable loaf. Most people are not so passionate, but every good cook should have a special occasion recipe. This is mine. When I found this recipe I was looking for Brotchen for a German themed dinner, and while this is certainly reminiscent of the crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside rolls I enjoyed when I was in Europe, I do not vouch for its authenticity. It has several important qualities as a special occasion bread. It is fairly straight forward, which can be important when putting together a large meal. It also freezes well so you can take out just what you need for dinner. Oh, and it makes great bread-bowls. To make it you will need:
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2 tablespoons shortening or oil
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white (for egg wash)
2 tablespoons cold milk or water
I use a stand mixer for this and you will definitely want to something to beat the eggs, even if you opt to knead the dough by hand.
Step 1: Proof Your Yeast
Take your yeast, water and sugar and combine them in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast has risen to the surface and gotten frothy.
While this step is not strictly necessary, it does give the yeast a head start which makes creating fluffy goodness much easier.
Step 2: Beat Eggs
While your yeast is proofing. Put your egg whites into your stand mixer or mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. This step is the secret to the light springiness of this bread.