Yep, it's that time again - Make and Share Monday! Today's project - homemade bread! My friend asked me to share my recipe, so I decided that, instead of just writing it down for her, I'd just make up a few loaves today. So I am "making" bread, and "sharing" the recipe. Also, I will be giving away most of the finished product to friends!
I found this recipe in an Amish cookbook that I bought several years ago. It is called "The Wooden Spoon" and was written by Miriam Miller. This is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks ever, and I make this bread all the time!!
So here's where you start. First, gather your ingredients:
1 cup lukewarm water 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast 1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt 1/2 c. oil
1 qt. warm water flour
In a small bowl, take 1 cup lukewarm water and mix brown sugar and yeast in it. Let it sit while you are mixing your other ingredients, and it will get bubbly and look like this.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, salt, oil, and 1 qt. warm water. Add 4 cups of flour and beat well.
Add the yeast mixture.
Add 3 more cups of flour and beat well. Keep on adding flour 1 or 2 cups at a time, beating well after each addition. I like to start out using my wire whisk, then, when it starts sticking in my whisk, I swap to a really large spoon to stir, and then I finally end up using my hands. The amount of flour you use is not ever exact. A lot of it depends on the weather or how thick or airy you like your bread. The more flour you use, the thicker your bread will be and it will have fewer holes. You want to arrive at a dough that is elastic and no longer sticky. Be sure to mix in ALL the flour really well.
Once you are finished mixing, you need to lift the dough slightly to one side of the bowl and pour in a small amount of oil. Roll your entire ball of dough around in this to keep it from sticking to your bowl while it's rising. I do this step in the bowl as opposed to doing it on the counter, because it saves much time on clean-up! Cover your bowl with a dish rag and put it in a very warm place to rise. I like to use my laundry room, because this is the warmest room in the house!! You'll know it has risen enough when it looks like this.
Make a fist and punch down that dough! Then, cover it and put it back in its warm place. Let it rise again. You need to let your dough rise and punch it down 3 times. After the 3rd rise, divide your dough and put it in your sprayed bread pans. This recipe usually makes about 5 loaves, but I actually cut the recipe in half today. So my batch made 3 loaves. Don't fill your pans too full, because they will continue to rise.
Let your dough rise to the top of your pans.
Put them in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. They need to bake for about 35 minutes. But really, you want to keep an eye on the color. I like to bake in glass pans so I can see the bottom of the loaf. When the top is golden and the bottom is nicely browned, they're ready.
You can see how they kept rising in the hot oven. If you overfill your pans, they will rise too much and go over the pan! (I speak from much experience on that one!)
After you get them out of the oven, put a dish rag on the counter and turn them out onto it. Let them cool, and then package them up to go in the freezer or to give away as gifts.
And there you have it! This is how I make bread. It's one of my great loves in life. I hope you will give it a try, and that you will find as much joy in it as I. One of these loaves will find its way to MY freezer, but the other two are reserved for two new friends.
I have so enjoyed being crafty again this Monday! Look for more "Make and Share" crafts next Monday. Be sure to check out the link at the top to see how to get involved with this fun idea! And a big thank-you to Katie and Kristy for putting together the idea in the first place.