This recipe makes either 2 large loaves, 8 mini loaves, or 10-12 bun-sized rolls.
1 1/4 cups very warm (not hot) water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBS water
Put your warm water in a glass bowl. Add your sugar and then your yeast, wisking gently with a fork until combined. Set aside for 10 minutes or until its bubbly/foamy. It should look like this:
Meanwhile, in your KitchenAid mixer, combine your flour and salt.
When your yeast is good and foamy, add it to your flour mixture.
Attach dough hook and set your timer for 8 minutes. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed setting and let it do its job (after 1 minute, check to see how your dough looks. If it is dry and flaky, add 1 TBS warm water). While your dough is kneading, grease a glass (oven safe) bowl with your favorite non-stick agent.
When your 8 minutes is up, lay your dough in your bowl and let it rise until double in size. (Speed-rise method: Pre-heat your oven to the lowest setting. For most ovens, this is between 150-170 degrees. Once pre-heated, turn your oven OFF. Put your bowl inside for 15-20 minutes, or until double in size).
Once it has doubled in size, lay it onto a greased counter top to avoid sticking. Do NOT knead!
Grease your baking pans. Separate your dough. If you are making rolls, divide into 2.5" balls. If making mini-loaves, divide and shape your dough into 8 mini loaves. If making large loaves, divide into 2 large loaves. I made rolls with this batch.
Mix your egg and water together with a fork until smooth. Brush this mixture on top of your dough.
Then cut your slits with a sharp knife. Be gentle, making sure you dont cut too deep.
Let rise again until double in size.
(If you did the speed rise method, remove your rolls from the oven)
Pre-heat to 375, and bake for 12-15 minutes for mini loaves or rolls, or 20-25 minutes for large loaves.
Here is how you get your crispy outer crust. When you put it in the oven to bake, toss a handful of ice cubes into the oven (yes, I said ice cubes... right into the bottom of the oven). Add another handful about 10 minutes into bake time. This gives a mildly crispy crust. Fore crispier crust, add ice cubes more often.
When they are golden brown, they are done. Like this:
Transfer to a cooling rack immediately. These are delicious by themselves, but I also like to half these and use them for all sorts of meals. Our favorites being: Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Roast Beef Sandwiches, Steak Sandwiches and Sloppy Joes!