Monday, May 31, 2010

Amazing Bread

So, this bread may very well be the genesis of my love of bread making. Oh, the loveliness that is warm bread fresh from the oven. I really can't think of very many things that are more amazing than that smell, wafting through the air, entering my soul with the warmth of a mother's hug. Homemade bread is like, in the words of the great Michael Jackson, L-O-V-E, L-O-V-E, love.

Now, I share this precious recipe with you. It is the recipe that began my inquiry into finding the best bakery recipes around. It goes by no other name but Amazing Bread. My only challenge left with this bread is to practice making it just as wonderful as a whole wheat or half whole wheat rendition.

This recipe comes in two sizes, so I will do each size (4 loaves and 2 loaves--they are probably about a 2 pound size loaf each)

Amazing Bread

4 Loaves:
5 1/3 C. warm water (so as to not kill your yeast, but warm enough to wake those little guys up.)*
2 Tbsp. yeast
2/3 C. sweetener**
2/3 C. oil
2 Tbsp. salt
13 1/3 C. flour (you can do half of the flour whole wheat and half regular white wheat)

2 Loaves:
2 2/3 C. warm water*
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 C. sweetener**
1/3 C. oil
1 Tbsp. salt
6 2/3 C. flour

*For those of you who have never baked with yeast before, I generally try to get the water just a little warm to the touch. You aren't looking for hot water.
**I use honey here, which I think makes a little difference. The loaves come out smelling like honey, but if you want to use sugar, it will still be a great loaf of bread.

So, I have made this bread by hand and by throwing all the ingredients into my bread maker on dough setting and then cooking it in the oven. (I personally hate the way my bread machine cooks bread. The crust is usually disgusting, so I just use it to mix up doughs.)

When making it by hand, you mix the first five ingredients together. If you want to proof your yeast, you can put the first three ingredients in a bowl and wait for the yeast to bubble, showing that it is awake and ready to make some amazing bread for you. Then I mix in about three cups of flour until combined. I keep adding a cup of flour at a time. Around the time I have 6 cups in the batter, I need to take the dough out and begin kneading it on the counter. I continue to add the flour until the dough is no longer sticky. As with most baking, the flour measurements are not exact. If you get a nice, not-too-sticky dough after 6 1/3 cup, you can stop. If you still have a sticky dough after adding all the called for flour, then add some more. (The measurements I describe in this paragraph are for the 2 loaf version.)

After you have kneaded the dough together, place it back in your mixing bowl, cover it with a greased piece of plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

After it has doubled, knead the bread once more in flour on your counter. Split into loaves and place in greased pans. I have cooked this bread in bread pans and also just free form on a cookie sheet. Both taste great, just different looks. Let rise, covered,  until doubled once more.
Once doubled, cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I have had to work with this 20 minutes quite a bit depending on the size of the loaf, so you will want to check the centers of your bread.

And then you enjoy this blessing of bread that has entered your home. It is a lovely, lovely treat--especially with honey or jam.

Here is a picture of these loaves using some "antique" bread pans I just inherited from my grandma. There is something magical about these pans. They cooked the bread perfectly--perfect crust, perfect bottom, perfect inside. I am excited to own these pans. But, don't worry. This bread turns out really well no matter how I have made it.


1 comment:


About Me

Just Chillin' with some words!