Lately I’ve been thinking about veganizing some of the traditional recipes I grew up with. It’s been years since I’ve had any classic Newfoundland fare and even though Newfie white bread is just like most other white breads, it was definitely a staple in most kitchens back in the day. Whenever I think of white bread, I always think of the bread my nan used to make. It seems as though every time we would go to her house for dinner or just a visit, we would leave with these tender, fluffy, giant loaves of bread, that she just so happen to bake fresh that morning. Oh man did I love that bread! It was so big that you would have to trim the sides just to fit it in the toaster. Slather a warm piece with a bit of margarine and jam and I’d be one happy gal.
I’m not as big a fan of white bread as I used to be, I tend to go for whole grains most often nowadays, but P loves the stuff and it’s nice to have every once in awhile. Plus unlike most of the other breads I make, there’s no starter or pre-ferment, so it comes together pretty quickly and any leftover dough can be saved for making some toutons! Oh, you don’t know what toutons are? Don’t you worry your pretty little head, I’ll be filling you in on those tasty little morsels shortly. I’ve scaled back this recipe a bit so that the loaves aren’t as giant as my nan’s and as much as I like bread, I figured two loaves are a little more reasonable then 5 or 6 loaves for most people.
There are a few different conditioners in this bread to give it it’s light and fluffy texture, so if you’re thinking about replacing the milk with water, all I can say is, please don’t so that. Same with the fat, it adds extra moisture and elasticity to the bread, and just wouldn’t be the same without it. I know there’s nothing better then warm bread right out of the oven, but letting the bread cool before slicing into it will make it easier to cut, then you can toast it and slather it in some homemade jelly. Or if you wanna be hardcore traditional, haul out the margarine and molasses and slather that sucker till there’s not a white spot to be seen.
Newfoundland White Bread
Yields: 2 loaves
- 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast (0.3 ounces)
- 1 cup water, warm (8 ounces)
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, warm (8 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt (0.2 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (0.55 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons margarine or shortening, softened (1.5 ounces)
- 4 1/2 -5 1/2 cups bread or all purpose unbleached flour
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle yeast over the warm water. Let stand in for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. Mix in two cups of flour (10 ounces), softened margarine or shortening, sugar and stir until combined. Mix in the milk and salt and then gradually add the remaining flour, mix on the lowest speed, or continue mixing by hand until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead by hand or mix on medium-low speed, adding flour or water as needed to achieve a smooth, elastic dough. The dough should not stick to your hands but it should feel slightly tacky. Remove from mixer and knead by hand for a 6-8 minutes more, making any final flour or water adjustments.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap or a clean damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 ½ hours). Alternatively, you can cover the dough and place it in the fridge overnight and then take it out in the morning to make toutons or bread. I like to divide the dough in half and bake one loaf of bread that day and save the remainder for toutons the next morning. The dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Once the dough has risen, remove from bowl and shape into bread loaves. If you are removing from the fridge, make sure you take the dough out a few hours before baking, to bring it back to room temp.
To make bread; lightly oil two 8 x 4″ loaf pans, divide dough into 6 equal portions, forming each portion into a ball.
Place 3 balls of dough into each loaf pan.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled or the dough is 2 inches above the loaf pan, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
Bake 400 degrees F on the bottom rack for 20 minutes, rotate the pans and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes more, the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn the loaves out onto a wired rack, if you prefer a softer crust, brush the tops with some melted margarine and let cool completely.
I spread my slices with some homemade raspberry jelly that my mom sent me. Yes, even though I’m almost thirty, I still love getting care packages from my parents Seriously, nothing beats homemade preserves, one of these days I’m going to have to try and make some myself.