I literally hear that every time someone tastes my bread. Apparently bread is one of those foods that people are terrified to make themselves because they think it will either 1. be too difficult or 2. take too much time. I’m going to tell you that, honestly, it’s not that difficult to make a tasty sandwich bread and it doesn’t take too much active time*.
I start with these ingredients:
*(Please take note of my giant bottle of honey and 1 lb bag of dry yeast. Clearly we are members at Sam’s Club :-D)
First, I put 2 1/2 cups warm water in my mixing bowl and add 1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast.
While the yeast is yeasting, I put 1/2 stick or 4 tbsp of butter in a small pan over medium heat to melt it.
Next I’ll put in the sweeteners. You’ll notice that I use some blackstrap molasses in my bread. This ingredient has two purposes: first, it tastes nice in small quantities, and second, it adds iron to the bread. I would not suggest using only molasses to sweeten your bread, though; it can have a strong flavor in large amounts. The recipe I use calls for 1/4 cup honey, so instead I use 1tbsp blackstrap molasses and 3 tbsp honey:
Then I’ll add 2 cups of flour. Normally I use about half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, but I had used up all of my whole wheat flour before today’s adventure. So both cups were all-purpose flour. I also throw in 2 tsp of salt, just for good measure. 🙂
When the butter looks like this:
Then I pour the butter into the mixer bowl and mix with the dough paddle attachment on low until the ingredients come together. (There may be a few lumps, but that’s ok. They’ll work themselves out later.) Your dough will look like this:
Then I add another 2 cups of flour. Typically I use 1 cup of whole wheat and 1 cup of all-purpose, but again, we’re only using all-purpose in these pictures. I mixed on low/medium low until that was incorporated:
then add enough flour to make a dough. This is usually between another 2-3 cups of flour (so total count so far is 6-7 cups of flour. Your dough will look pretty much like this:
Please notice that the dough is clinging to the mixer blade. That is the sign that you have enough flour.
I sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour on the counter and knead the dough on it for 5-10 minutes, then return the dough to the bowl. I cover it with a damp kitchen towel for 1 hour.
After it has risen, I punch the dough down (yes, that’s literally what it sounds like):
and split the dough in half. I grease two regular size loaf pans with butter. I find butter greases the pans better than oil, and once the bread is done baking I am able to turn the pan and have the loaf slide right out.
Working with one half of the dough at a time, I flatten (or you could roll) the dough into a rectangle about the size of a regular sheet of notebook paper:
Than I roll the dough into a cylinder, starting with the shorter edge.
I pinch the edge of this roll closed, and then fold the ends of it underneath the dough itself and pinch that. (The pinch helps the dough to form a solid loaf and not have random appendages.)
(Dough rolled up)
(Ends pinched to center)
I repeat this process with the other half of the dough.
I then cover my loaves back up with the damp kitchen towel and leave them for half an hour.
My risen loaves looked like this:
I bake my bread for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And it comes out looking like this:
This bread is really tasty! It’s soft, sliceable and great for sandwiches or toast. Here’s the full recipe:
6-7 cups of flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick/4 tbsp butter
Mix water and yeast in mixer bowl. Melt butter. Add honey/sweetener, salt, butter, and 2 cups of flour to mixer bowl. Mix on low until combined. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until combined. Add the rest of flour and mix until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto counter and knead for 5-10 minutes. Put dough back in bowl and cover with a moist kitchen towel for 1 hour. Punch down dough and separate into two pieces. Grease two loaf pans. Form a loaf out of each half of the dough by flattening out rectangles and rolling them up and pinching the edges and folding in the ends. Cover loaves again with moist towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!
Tomorrow’s adventure: Some talk about things I’ve learned that breastfeeding does to your body.