Saturday, December 8, 2007

Simple Pleasures

There are many things in life that bring us joy but sometimes its the simplest of things that bring the most pleasure.

One of these things, for me, is making home made bread. I don't always have time to do this, but I do try and make it every Saturday morning. I love doing this for several reasons...

  • Its easy, but time consuming
  • It makes the house smell absolutely wonderful
  • It tastes yummy
  • My kids like to help and I hope my daughter (and/or son will do so when they are grown)
  • My mother in law makes her own bread
  • My mother makes her own bread...well...she used to {sigh}
  • I feel its a tradition that has been lost in this time. Everyone is too busy so this is a way I make myself slow down and enjoy.
  • Everyone loves me and ooohhs and ahhhas after its done,so it feels good

So, because of the above I would like to share the recipe and instructions in hope that you'd at least give it a try. It really is easy, just need to have the time to do it.


White Bread

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups mils, scalded
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS butter (or shortening)
  • 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups flour

Take 1/4 tsp of the sugar and place in the measuring cup along with the water. Add the active yeast and stir slightly. Set aside. If your yeast is good, the mixture will start to rise and bubble. This is what you want it to do.

In your mixer bowl add remaining 1 3/4 tsp sugar, scalded milk, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. What I do here is add a few icecubes, melt them to bring the temp down. You don't want it too hot or it will ruin the yeast. Once lukewarm, stir in 2 cups of the flour and mix on low speed. Once mixed add in the yeast mixture and mix. Continue to add in the flour one cup at a time and mix well after each cup. I usually add 3 cups this way and then I start adding by the spoonful until the dough becomes moderately stiff and starts pulling away from the sides of your mixer.

*You do not have to have a mixer in order to do this. Mix as you would anything else until the dough starts to become tougher and slightly sticky.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed if it is still sticky. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Using a clean kitchen towel (lint free), run under hot water, ring out and place over the top of the bowl. This keeps it moist so it does not dry out during the rising process. Place in warm area until the dough is double in size.

Once risen, divide into two equal parts, knead a bit more to remove some of the air bubbles, shape into loaves. place in two greased bread pans. Re-warm the towels and place over the top of both pans. Let rise until double, or the size of a loaf of bread, ( It should fill the pan). The cooler it is the longer this will take to rise.

**TIP: What I do is fill a metal pan with piping hot water and place in the bottom of my oven, under the rack. Then place the pans with the dough just above that on the rack. This locks in the heat and moisture from the hot water and assists with rising. DO NOT turn the oven on when rising.

Bake in hot oven at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes or until done. (tops will be lightly browned) If tops brown too fast, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.


This seems lenghty, but I just explained how I do it. It seems to work the best for me doing this process.

Once you've tried it, you will see how easy this is and hopefully continue to make your own homemade bread. YUMMY!!

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