Do you know what's scary? When grocery-store-bought bread doesn't grow moldy. I've been staring at a loaf of store-bought bread on my counter for weeks, close to a month in fact, and it has yet to produce any signs of bacterial growth. I am good at properly storing and preserving food, but seriously, what freakazoid preservatives are added to food these days? It's frightening to know that I serve these foods to my children, who really, really, love their bread. Whether they develop into mutants later in life is unknown. This is the very reason I started switching to making my own batch of freshly baked bread every week.
When it comes to bread, it's simple really. It's water, flour, and yeast. It's just the waiting around for the yeast to proof that turns me off. Don't make bread with the expectation to have it instantly. You need to plan ahead. So for me, I just make a couple of batches of dough from the below recipe and stick them in my fridge for proofing (you didn't know that you can store yeast in cold places for proofing, did you?). Cover the dough securely so that it doesn't dry out and let it proof in the fridge until you're ready to bake. Of course, you will still have to wait a little bit more for proofing once the dough is divided, but the bulk of it is already done.
When my kids were babies, we didn't give them toys or candy to soothe them. We gave them a loaf of freshly baked bread from a bakery. Now, they are grinning ear to ear with freshly baked bread at home anytime they want.
Potato Slider Buns/Rolls Recipe
These potato buns are sturdy enough for burgers and fluffy enough for rolls.
Ingredients (makes 18-24 buns)
5 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons active or dry instant yeast
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup warm mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cups warm water
In a stand mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, add 4 cups flour (reserve the other cup), yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
In a heat-proof bowl, melt the butter in a microwave.
To the melted butter, add the potatoes and water. Mix well.
Switch out the whisk attachment for a bread hook on the stand mixer.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Kneed on medium until the dough starts coming together. Slowly add the remaining flour as needed until dough forms into a soft ball. Stop kneading when dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
Leave the dough in the stand mixing bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
After 2-24 hours, remove from fridge and punch down the dough and transfer to lightly floured surface. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough evenly into 18 equal pieces for large buns or 24 for small buns.
Shape the dough into small balls and pinching the seams closed at the top.
On two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper or baking mat, place the dough about 1 inch apart with seam side down. Flatten out the dough slightly by pressing down. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown. You may need to rotate the trays from top to bottom and left to right for even browning.
Once fully baked, remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter for a glossy finish (optional).