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Monday, May 30, 2011


Alton Brown's Pillow Bread is one of my son's favorite breads.  He likes soft-textured foods and this is a wonderful soft bread!  I've been trying to stay on the whole wheat thing lately...but he was adamant that we stick to the core recipe as much as possible.  I agreed, but reminded him that last time the loaf was HUGE and I just didn't want that much white bread around for us to gorge on.  I said he could make it IF he halved the recipe.  He seemed alarmed, but I helped, and it turned out great.

I didn't have Bread Flour and insisted we could just use AP flour...I was NOT fighting the Memorial Day Week-end traffic heading to the island just to get some flour from the grocery store.  The teen did most of the work - I stood around and answered questions...just call me the kitchen consultant.  It turned out great and this is how we did it.

Adapted from Alton Brown's I'm Just Here For More Food


The Wet Goods:
3/4 cup 2% Milk
1/2 cup water plus 1/3 cup water - divided
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter (we used salted because that's what we had)

The Dry Goods:
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 ounce active dry yeast


Bring 1/2 cup water to boil in small sauce pan and slowly whisk in the corn meal and cook, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until thickened.  Remove from heat to cool.

Put cooled cornmeal mixture into bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.
Add dry yeast and salt to flour and stir to mix.
Add flour to mixer bowl and combine until you can run your fingers through the flour mix and not feel big clumps of cornmeal.

In small saucepan, add milk, the rest of the water, honey, and butter.
Bring to 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour warmed mixture into flour mixture and turn on stand mixer.
Allow to mix for 6 to 8 minutes.  It will come together completely within a couple of minutes and the rest of the time it is kneading.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and finish kneading by hand 1-2 minutes for it to form a nice ball of fully developed dough.  Form the dough into a loaf.

Place a silpat on a baking sheet or prepare the pan with Baker's Joy if you don't have a silpat.
Place loaf on top of silpat/prepared pan, cover with a cloth, and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a no-drafty warm place.  If I'm not baking other things, my preferred rising location is an oven that I have turned on for 60 seconds at 250 degrees and turned off while I'm preparing the takes any chill off the oven but doesn't really get it too warm.  It makes for a perfect rising environment.

After the dough has risen (it will double at least), remove from oven if that is where it is rising.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place oven rack in the middle position.  Bake bread until the temperature reaches 190-195 degrees internally on an instant read thermometer**.  It will be slightly golden on top and it takes about 20-25 minutes.

Remove immediately from baking sheet onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.
It is certainly delicious with butter and honey...and it was slightly warm when we dug in :-)

You can see from the picture that this half recipe is a generous loaf of bread.  When we made the full recipe it was overflowing the, the recipe above is halved - the way we made it.  If you want Alton's recipe, the cookbook is available online from Paragraph's on Padre Blvd.  The teen has a signed copy from when Alton visited Austin.  We stood in line for 2 hours...and he values it greatly!  It is a wonderful cookbook for teaching "technique".

The teen doesn't allow photos during I had to make do with finished product :-)

** I used my Pyrex digital probe thermometer.  This is one of my favorite purchases from years ago.  You stick the probe into the dough (or whatever) and the heat proof cable attaches to a counter top digital controller.  I set it to alert me when the temp is 190 and viola, perfectly baked bread.  Alton Brown's is one of the few cookbooks that gives internal temps for bread.  I like it...takes the guessing out of the game!

The bread is excellent toasted for breakfast too...really good stuff!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

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