Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Elisabeth's Favorite Bread Recipe

Silas's mother gave me "The King Arthur Flour Cookbook" for a bridal shower gift. Little did I know how this book would change my life.

 It has changed the whole way I look at homemade bread, in fact.

 And let me tell you, it takes a great deal to change my view on anything related to food.

I have always enjoyed homemade bread but I had come to accept that despite its fabulous flavor, homemade bread is always slightly dry and completely stale the next day.

Enter King Arthur Flour Cookbook with its "Walter Sands' Basic White Bread" recipe. Add a few alterations of my own.

And walla! Perfect bread. Really and truly perfect bread that is still moist and soft the next day.
(No mean jokes about the size of my thumbs, ok.)
Elisabeth's Favorite Bread Recipe: 
 2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar  I use honey.   
1 tablespoon or packet of yeast. 
1/2 cup dry milk I omit this as I'm cutting all dairy out of my diet right now. 
2 tablespoons butter I use olive oil, for the reason stated above. 
5 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour I don't mind using the off brand. 
1 tablespoon of salt I've also made this recipe with 1 tsp. of salt and it makes for a blander bread, which Silas likes if we're using this bread for sandwiches. 
Mix warm water and honey in a largish mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add the oil, 5 cups of flour, and the salt. (You would also, at this point, add the dry milk, were you to use it.) Stir this together until it begins to hold together. Pour the remaining half cup of flour onto the surface you intend to use for kneading. 
Knead until it holds its own shape well, 3 or 4 minutes. Let the dough rest while you grease a bowl for rising. Return to your dough and knead a further 3 or 4 minutes until it's "Smooth as a baby's bottom". (That's the expression my Mom used when she taught me to knead dough.)
Roll the dough into a ball and place in the greased bowl. Put the bowl someplace warm and cozy. I like to put mine in the oven with the oven light on. This makes for a pleasant environment for the bread. It recipe says to leave until it's doubled in size, but all the times I've made this dough it hasn't risen very much, so I let it rise for an hour.
After an hour dump the dough out on an oiled surface and punch it down. Knead the bubbles out and form into two loaves. Place the loaves into lightly greased bread pans. Return to the dormant, but lit, oven. Let those two gems  "rise" for another hour. Again, mine don't rise very much at all.
With the loaves sitting in the oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and set the timer for 35 minutes. When you pull them out they will have magically risen to fill the bread pans. Since your oven is probably different than mine, you should knock on the tops with your knuckles to check for a hollow sounds. That means they're done!
Now; OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!
  (Sorry for the teaser yesterday. I was fully intending to post this recipe last night, but I was too exhausted to take care of it, thus the teaser. Please forgive me I will try (TRY!) not to do it again.)

8 comments:

  1. How dare you not only eat but MAKE white bread?!?. Naughty, naughty girl.

    That said, will you please make me some when I visit you? :)

    It really does look beautiful!

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  2. White bread!!!!????? I'm a failure. Well, as long as Silas likes it.

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  3. Yup, I'm not *allowed* to make bread around here because it's stale the next day. So...utilizing my fabulous printer here, I shall print out Elizabeth's Favorite Bread recipe and see what we think of it around here.

    Thanks!

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  4. Only I will spell your name correctly....

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  5. @Mom - Thing is, Silas and I don't have a grain mill yet, and neither of us can bear the thought of BUYING stale wheat flour.

    So you haven't failed me, just spoiled me :)

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  6. Oooh, that sounds wonderful! I think I'll have to make some today... :)

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  7. Oh, oh, that makes sooooooo much sense. Now I shall be able to sleep at night. By the way, the wheat flour you buy at the store isn't stale, it is RANCID! Probably healthier to eat unbleached white. I shall butt out of your kitchen business now.

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Muse with me. Please?