pillow-y: buttermilk bread

by Chen

I bake a lot these days, particularly with buttermilk, the magic that always keeps the baked goodies light and fluffy and yes, I still have some buttermilk leftover.

One thing about baking is that there is some risk. For instance, the dough of yeast bread may go “dead” and never double in size. However, mostly, the results are satisfying, or even better than what I expect.

Today’s loaf bread recipe was based on the dough of Allyson Goften’s “Chelsea Bun”, sweet and buttery roll-up style yeast bread filled with fruit. Again, I substituted some buttermilk for the milk on the list, and finally, like my auntie said, “yum…it tastes like the one sold in the bakery nearby!”

buttermilk bread
Based on the “Chelsea Bun” from Allyson Goften’s book, Bake: Favorite Home-Made Recipes

Makes one loaf

1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup flour

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, diced and softened

more buttermilk for brushing the top

Stir all the ingredients in part I together in a bowl. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until it bubbles, about 10-15 minutes.

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the ingredients in part II except the butter, then pour in the bubbling yeast mixture. Use the kneading attachment to knead the dough until it starts to pull together. Add the butter to the bowl and continue working until the chunks of butter disappear. The dough should be soft and smooth but not sticky. If it is too dry/wet, add more buttermilk/flour by tbsp.

Turn the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for another 10 minutes. Move the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave the bowl at a warm spot and wait until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hour depending on the environment.

Once the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and transfer to the floured surface. Knead until all the air is out. Shape the dough as you like (I made a braid and tucked the seam ends underneath then place it in a greased 9-inch loaf pan). Keep the shaped dough in a warm place and let it double in size again, about 30-40 minutes.

At the same time, preheat the oven to 350F. When the dough is ready, brush the top with buttermilk. Bake it for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate once half way through.

Let the baked bread sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the bread on a rack. Let it cool completely before slicing.