Sunday, August 9, 2009

Speaking of bread...


I used to bake a lot of bread. Not the bread machine kind, although that can be excellent but my only 'bread machine' is the oven, but old fashoned bread. For a good 2 year stretch we did not buy bread because I baked it all. When I first started I was stranglely terrified, as if some baking mishap might go down on my permanent record or something, but I found an easy recipie and eased into it. Suprisingly soon given my unwillingness to actually measure ingredients while cooking (the cause of many a baking failure) I was churning out the bread. I even started getting creative with herbs, cheese, and yummy lemon poppyseed! Then, about 2 1/2 years ago, tragedy struck. My stand mixer went into storage in Nevada and I moved home to Indiana. It would be 18 months before I would see it again, and those months were tragically home-baked-bread free because...I'm lazy and will only bake bread if the stand mixer does the hard work for me. Once we got our stuff out of storage and I was reunited with my beloved stand mixer, the bread baking began again, in an admittedly more sporadic pace. Then...pregnancy bed rest. I could barely go into my kitchen for a while there, let alone bake! Then, just this weekend, my neighbor (hi Sarah!) mentioned baking bread and my mind said yeah, let's do that, we are out of bread anyway. So after I made myself go to the store today (for some reason I am feeling anti shopping lately) I came home and got going. I have a recipie I have been using since I started, I just tweak it here and there with variations. No idea where I got it, it's written in pencil on the back of a flyer and has been stuck to the stove hood with a magnet the last 3 places I lived.

3c flour
1t yeast
1t salt
1/8c sugar
1c warm milk
2T butter
1/2c warm water

put milk, water, and butter(cut into small cubes) in a small pan over very low heat until butter is melted
in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook put all dry ingredients
turn mixer on medium and add wet to dry, scraping the bowl down until combined if neccesary (my mixer does not turn the bowl until it comes together as a dough, so I have to babysit for the 1st few minutes) and let it knead 10 minutes.
put dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave to rise in a warm place 90 minutes
turn out, shape into loaf and put in greased loaf pan, let rise 1 hour
bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes and let cool on a rack

I will note, this bread is a little dense for toasting purposes and does not brown in the toaster. I am quite fond of toast so as an experiment today after the first rising I kneaded 10 times and let rise an hour back in the bowl, then put it in the loaf to rise another hour before baking. It seems much lighter and softer, and does not taste to 'yeasty' from the extra rising. I will try toast in the morning and report back. Now that my house is nice and hot from baking, running the dishwasher, and browning chicken for a crock pot meal tomorrow all at the same time on the hottest day of the year so far I am not in a toast mood.
H.W.

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Witchy Wyllow said...

Yay! I've been looking (granted, not very hard) for a simple bread recipe for a while. Unfortunately my loaf pan is now deceased (*sob*), but hopefully I'll have a new one next week so I can make pumpkin pie bread and try this out. Thanks for sharing!

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