Monday, March 2, 2009

Homemade Bread.

I like to make homemade bread. The smell your home fills up with, the anticipation of a warm slice of bread with honey. It's all worth the amount of time you need to invest to make a loaf. I don't use a bread machine and like to watch the bread baking in the oven. Unfortunately, I was finding myself making a loaf of bread only about once a week. I was sticking to usual store bought brands. Lately, however, I've been making a loaf from every day to every other day. I've been spoiling not only my taste buds, but those of the kids.

Yesterday, we ran out of homemade bread. I had to substitute with our usual store bought replacement. As we sat down to lunch and I took a bite out of my turkey sandwich, I almost threw my sandwich in the trash. I could taste the preservatives or at least what seemed to be something most unnatural. Needless to say, I force fed myself what was supposed to be a yummy sandwich...good mustard and all!

I immediately cleared the table and set out to make a loaf of bread. After about 2 or so hours, it was done! Piping hot from the oven, we gathered around and had a delicious slice of heavenly homemade bread. Is it possible that I may never again enjoy store bought bread?? I never thought I would turn into a bread snob!

I usually follow a couple of recipes for oatmeal bread, white sandwich bread, and Italian loaves. Here is my most used recipe...good for making sandwiches or just enjoying with a bit of butter. It is one of the very few recipes I have memorized!! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!!!

White Sandwich Bread

3 1/2 cups flour (I am partial to King Arthur or Gold Medal)
2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm whole mile (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
1 packet fast acting yeast

*I use my Kitchen Aide mixer with the dough hook attachment.

  1. Mix flour and salt in mixer.
  2. Combine milk, water, honey, butter, and yeast. It's important that your liquids aren't too hot, otherwise you might kill your yeast and your bread won't rise. I always use a thermometer and get great results!
  3. Slowly pour liquid mixture into bowl with flour.
  4. Mix on low until well combine. If your dough is too sticky, you can add more flour...about 1 tbsp. at a time, but no more than 1/4 cup.
  5. Once combined, mix dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes.
  6. Take out dough and knead into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Place dough in a warm place to rise. My house is always cold so I like to warm the oven to about 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. I then turn off the oven and place my dough in the warm oven.
  8. Wait for the dough to rise and double in size; about 45 minutes.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, shape your dough into a rectangle and roll. Pinch the seams and ends together and place in an oiled loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let dough rise again until it doubles in size...about 20 minutes.
  11. Bake in 350 degrees oven for about 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 195 degrees.
  12. Let your bread cool a bit and then enjoy!!!

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