If you've ever been to a Jimmy Johns, you know that the secret to their success is their unbelievably delicious bread. The bread is baked fresh every day and it's soft and chewy and heavenly. I don't know how they do it but it's even delicious the second day. (Something I've never been able to replicate at home.) Apparently they are aware of this fact because they sell the day old loaves for 50 cents and they just fly out the door. (It's that good.)
I stumbled across a youtube video on how to make Jimmy Johns Bread at home a few weeks ago. After watching this seemingly educated baker create the recipe that he believed to be very close the Jimmy Johns recipe, I decided it was worth a shot. I had never before tried a recipe that I had gotten from a youtube video but I figured it was worth a shot. The man in the video appeared to be very knowledgeable about bread baking while he rattled off facts about proofing temperatures and leavening ingredients. It was worth a shot.
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered milk
4 teaspoons soybean oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Sprinkle sugar and yeast over warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients and add to yeast mixture.
Knead dough until combined. Let rest 5 minutes.
Knead dough 2 minutes and let rest 7 minutes.
Knead out 3 minutes.
Put dough into a greased bowl and let rise for an hour. I proofed my dough in the oven. The video recommended a 130 degree proofing temperature.
This is my dough after an hour - slightly overproofed I think.
Divide dough into 3 equal parts.
Roll each into a log and place on a silpat lined baking sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes. (Ideally in a 130 degree environment.)
Bake 18 minutes at 390. (Yes, I do agree that 390 is an odd temperature.)
Cool on wire racks.
Slice each loaf in half or thirds, depending on the size sandwich you want.
Slice each section in half horizontally.
In my modest opinion - this bread fell way short of the Jimmy Johns standard. The crust wasn't quite right and it didn't really have the same crumb as Jimmy Johns bread. Don't get me wrong, the bread wasn't terrible but it just wasn't the delicious bagel-like bread that I was expecting. Perhaps I will try another recipe for Jimmy Johns bread another day.
It wasn't a total waste though. I did made basil chicken sandwiches on my knock off bread and they were pretty good. (That recipe will be on tomorrow's blog.)