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How to Bake the Perfect Heart-Shaped Loaf

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Baking bread can be simple and fun, and this easy recipe can be the first of many different types of loaves a young chef can master baking in their own boulangerie.

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar 1¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra flour for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine yeast and sugar in warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add butter, salt and half of flour and mix together. Then, add flour bit by bit until all three cups are added.
  • Lightly flour a surface like a cutting board or clean counter top.
  • Knead until bread is no longer sticky. Resist adding flour before you try kneading for a few minutes. Be patient and kneading will work! (Wondering how to knead? See the instructions at the end of this post.)
  • Oil a bowl with a small amount of oil.
  • Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Then, cover and leave bowl in a warm place so dough can rise to twice its size.
  • Once the dough has risen, punch down dough to deflate it.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Pat dough into a heart shape on baking sheet and cover with a clean dish cloth.
  • Leave covered dough in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until it doubles in size. Brush with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. Tap top of bread. When done, it should sound hollow.

Tips, tricks, and FAQ

Here are answers to some questions your baker-in-training may ask.

What type of flour should I use to make bread?

The type of flour to use depends on your favorite qualities of bread, such as flavor and texture, and your nutritional goals. All-purpose flour is a mix of different wheat flours, including hard and soft, with a good amount of protein and gluten. Whole wheat flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour, so it makes smaller, heavier loaves. Other flours like rye, oat and buckwheat change the flavor, appearance and texture of bread. You can use any of these to make bread.

What is the difference between all-purpose and whole wheat flour?

The process of making flour is called milling. To make all-purpose flour, only one part of the wheat kernel—the endosperm—is ground into flour during the milling process. For whole wheat flour, all three parts of the kernel—the endosperm, bran and germ—are made into flour.

What is kneading?

Kneading is an important process in combining ingredients during bread-making. By pressing, stretching and folding dough repeatedly, gluten is developed in the dough. To knead, press dough with your palm, fold in edges and press again.

Happy baking! 

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