Oh WordPress! How you’ve let me down the past few days. I’m sure I could spread my dismay across the AT&T wireless covereage area, software updates to the iphone, the fact that I’m too lazy to resize my photos, and a great many things that played a part in your not posting my words and photos as I wanted them posted. But, we shall see what we can do and hopefully we can get back to a place where we get along again. It was so nice to be able to use my coffee break to edit and write! But, alas, we’re back on a night schedule with blogging, until this whole mess clears itself up.
I really like homemade breads better than store bought. This feeling is not held by everyone, and I know that homemade breads seem to have a thicker texture, and are overall slightly more dense than one might be accustomed to. It can make using this bread for sandwiches for people who are used to the air filled, preservative packed, perfectly sliced loaf for $4.29 (+/-) difficult to introduce into lunches… This is a good recipe, because it’s possible with a 9-5 (or in my case a 7-5 job) to start right before making dinner, and by the time you want to go to sleep, you can already have a couple loaves of bread cooled and stored for lunch the next morning.
Adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 2 loaves
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) warm water
2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 oz) simply smart milk
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups (1 lb 9 oz – 2 lbs 3 oz) all-purpose flour
When making bread, or I guess when using yeast the water wants to be about 100-115 degrees (I hope I’m not lying about that, that number is totally from memory..) this means that it’s a little warm, if you stick your finger in it. I used to have a thermomater that I would use when baking, but I lost it recently, so now I just use my pinky. I used my stand mixer to make this bread, so I poured the water in the bowl, and added the yeast – letting it sit and do it’s thing for a few minutes.
In a medium prep bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (watch out for new microwaves, our’s is superiorly quicker than any other I’ve used in the past) and mix with milk, honey and salt.
In the stand mixer add a cup of flour and milk/butter mix into the yeast, stir for a few minutes. I’ve always used honey interchangeably with sugar when making bread, because you can use less of it to get the same amount of sweetness. There are a few notes that you might want to read up on (though I haven’t tested them all at home yet) if substituting honey for white sugar. The trick to always remember is to coat the spoon with oil or egg white to get the honey to come off the measuring spoon!
Use another 4-1/2 cups of flour, mixing in about a cup, or half-cup at a time, mixing until the dough is formed into a shaggy, not too too sticky mound. Depending on how many other things I’m trying to do at the moment, I either leave kneading bread dough up to my mixer (about 10-12 minutes with dough hook) or half and half with kneading by hand. Or all by hand if I’m not making anything else.Dough should still feel a bit tacky but not sticky – make sure you reserved the rest of the flour to add spoonfull at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.
Coat bowl of mixer in a little oil (olive) and cover and let raise in a warm place in your kitchen until it’s doubled in size. This took about an hour (+/-). When done, on a lightly floured countertop, plop the dough out, and divide into two loaves – shape into loosely shaped balls. Let dough rest for about ten minutes. In two greased loaf pans, shape the dough into a load, and let them rise for another 30-40 mintes. 20-ish minutes into this, preheat the oven to 425F. Slash tops of loaves with serrated knife, and put them in oven, immediately turning the heat down to 375F and baking for 30-35 minutes. To know your bread is done, tap bottom and if it sounds hollow, it’s ready to go.
Allow them to cool, and then store in airtight containers, or wrap well (foil, bag) and freeze.