White bread gets some respect

 white bread

Few culinary products are as disparaged as soft white bread. Food lovers frequently gush about the charms of multigrain, sprouted, rustic, and artisan loaves but look down upon unadorned basic white bread. Nutritionists tut-tut its abundance of simple carbohydrates and lack of fiber. Despite this disdain, white bread continues to be popular because it’s both comforting and versatile. It can be used as the base for many delights both savory and sweet – bread pudding, sandwiches, crunchy casserole topping, binder for meatloaf, and French toast. 

Pastry chef Kat Craddock is a cheerleader for white bread. Writing for indexed magazine Saveur, Craddock notes that most cultures worldwide have some form of soft, sliceable bread. “In Mexico, Pan Blanco Bimbo is just as airy and moist as its American cousin, Wonder Bread. In Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, bakers balance their loaves’ dryer [sic] interiors with a touch of structure and chew. Then there’s the classic French  pain de mie, Portuguese sweet bread, and Jewish challah,” she notes. 

Craddock has developed a recipe that she calls “the fluffiest white bread in the world“, borrowing techniques from different cultures. The base of the recipe is a classic French milk bread, but Craddock uses a flattening and rolling technique similar to that used by Taiwanese and Japanese bakers to get a delicate bread that has layers that begged to be pulled apart. She says that even if you aren’t a skilled bread baker, you can achieve great results with this bread. I agree; my loaves above hit all the right notes: flavor, texture, appearance. 

This recipe also proves that for even the most mundane of subjects, you can find a technique that you didn’t know about before. There’s always something to learn in the world of cooking and baking. 

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  • Rinshin  on  January 9, 2017

    I really like Japanese style white breads known as milk breads and shokupan. Very different from white breads in the US but I can get good shokupan style breads from a local Bay Area bakery called Anderson Bakery/Grain d'or and is simply called white bread. They have two types one called white and another called English bread. I have not been able to bake one quite this standard yet.

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