I decided to make a super-rich bread, but instead of loading it with butter, I loaded it with cream. And while many rich breads are also sweet, this one isn't. It's got just a tablespoon of sugar, which is typically what I add to bread to make the yeast giddy and aid in browning.
The result was loaf with definite dairy flavor and an interesting crust - almost flaky or crumbly rather than completely solid. And the aroma of the baking bread was intoxicating.
You might imagine that I'm used to the scent of baking bread around here, but every once in a while there's one that really calls to me. This is one of those. I wanted to rip into it as soon as it came out of the oven.
But I waited. Impatiently. And the wait was worth it. Darned good loaf. Maybe not something I'd make every day - just like I wouldn't make challah or brioche or any other similar bread every day. But once in a while, ya gotta splurge.
You might notice that I used Red Star Platinum Yeast here. That's because I wanted to get a little more rise from this super-rich bread. If you don't happen to have it, I suggest Red Star's active dry yeast.
Delicious and Decadent White Bread
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) durum flour
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine everything in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Note: If you're using a brand of yeast other than Red Star, it might have a larger pellet size, so you'd need to let it soften in the liquid before you continue. If you're using the Red Star Platinum or Red Star active dry yeast, then you can simply combine it all.
Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size - about 1 hour 15 minutes in a warm place.
Flour your work surface, spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Turn out the dough and form the dough into a tight log about 8 1/2 inches long - to fit in the loaf pan. Place the formed log into the pan, seam-side down. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until the dough rises above the top of the pan - about 30 minutes.
When the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and slash the dough as desired. Bake at 350 degrees until the bread is nicely browned, about 45 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.