Monday, January 28, 2013

Homemade Bread

Whole wheat white bread
Every time I make homemade bread I think why don't I do this more often? I have a fantastic good old standby recipe that my mom always used when we were growing up. I remember coming in from playing outside to the smell of fresh bread baking and feeling giddy with anticipation. I remember lining up with my brothers and friends from the neighborhood for a thick slice of hot bread with butter. What a treat!

I woke up this morning to half the remaining loaf from last night being gone.
The dough handles beautifully and comes together easily. This recipe makes three tasty, easy to slice loaves with crisp chewy crusts and soft delicious insides. It's cost-effective, fairly simple and oh-so-good.

Toast with real butter. Yum.
The bread makes amazing toast the next day too--if there is any left. I made this for dinner last night and my family of six devoured two loaves and started in on the third. I may or may not have had four slices myself. So much for my low-carb eating plan. :/ Totally worth it though.

After I turned the bread out of the pans I told my boys they needed to hurry and clean the front room before we ate. Monkey kept finding reasons to venture into the kitchen so that he could bend over the loaves and take in the mouth-watering smell up close.

My favorite way to eat it is warm with butter but I'm not opposed to a little honey or a smidgen of freezer jam either. Of course bread is always more delicious when it's hot but this is good cold too. If you want that fresh-from-the-oven experience the next day you can always stick a slice in the microwave for 7 or 8 seconds to rewarm it.

I like to raise the dough in the microwave (instructions below) but you can raise it the old fashioned way too. The microwave just makes the whole process go faster. *Be careful though. I accidentally cooked the dough in my old microwave once and ruined it because the wattage was too high.* I haven't had any problems with my current microwave.

2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees--too hot will kill the yeast)
2 2/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt (I used kosher salt)
3 tablespoons shortening
9 to 10 cups all-purpose, unbleached or bread flour*
soft butter or margarine

Dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. You don't have to do this for a long time. I greased my pans and glass bowl while I waited. Stir in 2 2/3 cups warm water, the sugar, salt, shortening and 5 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. I used the paddle attachment for my Kitchenaid for this part then switched to the dough hook.  Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle (it took 9 cups for me last night). Knead dough in mixer with dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the dough in a greased bowl--turn the greased side up. Cover with a sheet of waxed paper and place in a clean microwave oven and warm at 10% power (power level 1) for 5 minutes. Rotate the bowl and microwave again at 10% power for another 5 minutes. Allow to finish rising until an impression remains in the dough when touched with a finger.

Punch down the dough; divide into three equal parts and form into laoves. Place into well-greased glass bread pans, brush lightly with soft butter and place in the microwave. My microwave has a turntable to I usually remove it for this part and put an upside down dinner plate over the turning thingy then set the loaves in there. Again, cover the dough with waxed paper. Microwave on 10% power for 5 minutes. Rotate loaf pans and microwave one last time for 5 minutes at 10% power. By this time the dough should be doubled and at the top of the pans (or nearly there).

When the dough is doubled place the loaves in the preheated oven so that the tops of the loaves are in the center of the oven. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped (I often use a wooden spoon to tap them). Brush with more soft butter. Turn loaves out of pans onto wire racks to cool.

*You can substitute up to 2 cups whole wheat flour for a delicious change. This is the kind I made  last night.


Make some today. Your family will thank you.

P.S. You can find lots of other favorite bread recipes HERE.


Kylied said...

My mouth is watering! When I have energy again I will try this recipe. I have not been thrilled with the recipes I've tried out here - something in the air does not make them come out quite the way they should :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
guess I'll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I'm thoroughly
enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to everything. Do you have any tips for newbie blog writers? I'd
genuinely appreciate it.

my web page ... great tasting coffee