Tried a couole more ideas I had on bread baking, and this time, for a change, I guessed exactly right! Being lazy, I wanted bread-making to be quick and easy. Now it is. And I got the lightest, softest, airiest, most tender loaf that I've made. Precisely what I've been trying for all these months. If anyone's interested, here's the whole bit: With a picture, of course.
Turn oven on to lowest setting for 3 to 5 minutes, then off.
In the Kitchen Aid Mixing bowl:
1 cup bread flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbs[ honey
3 tbsp softened butter
1 lge egg lightly beaten (reserve 1-2 tbsp for glaze)
1 cup Half & half milk very warm (120F)
Mix with whisk 1 minute, then add
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
Continue mixing until smooth thick creamy batter, then change to dough hook and add up to
1 3/4 cups Bread flour
slowly, stopping when a soft dough that is not quite sticky is formed. Continue kneading with dough hook (speed 2 or 3) for about 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and rotate it in a large oiled bowl. Open the oven door for a moment to let out the hot air, then put the bowl in the oven. (The residual heat in the metal of the oven will warm the air to a comfortable temperature for the yeast) Let doough rise until a finger poked deeply into it leave a hole that doesn't start to close.
Rem,move and form into loaf on a baking sheet, or flatten into a rectange, roll up, and place in a loaf pan. (Glaze with egg, add seeds, and slash, if desired) Back into the oven to rise until a finger dent doessn't spring back.
Turn oven on to 335 F for 30 minutes. (Very soft, tender crust. For harder, thicker crust, spray with water once or twice during baking, and increase temp - 350 to 400 - and bake for a little shorter time.)
This loaf is aboout 8 inches in diameter, 4 inches high, and weighs 1.6 lbs.