Sunday, February 14, 2010

Easy homemade bread- if there is such a thing

In preparation for a Valentine's dinner I am cooking this evening I made some homemade bread.

In my opinion bread is never 'easy' to make but this recipe is one of the easiest I've made and it is yummy! Recipe yields 2 large loafs.
5 lb bag of all purpose flour -you won't quite use it all
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Crisco
1 cup of cold milk
3 cups of boiling water
1 package of dry yeast

In a tall glass pour about 4 ounces of almost hot water-not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Add a small pinch of sugar and the package of yeast, stir and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl place the salt, sugar and shortening. Add three cups of boiling water and stir until dissolved.

Add the milk and stir.

Check the yeast; it should be bubbly and almost to the top of the glass. Add to the milk mixture in the large mixing bowl and stir well to distribute the yeast evenly.

Add flour a cup at a time, and stir well after each addition. When dough becomes too difficult to stir with the spoon, start balling it up with your hands. Add enough flour to keep your hands from sticking to the dough-don't over flour-it will make the bread hard! Keep the dough the consistency of a marshmallow. You won't need to use the whole bag of flour!

Knead this dough, in the bowl is fine. Knead the dough until it is smooth and soft-about seven minutes. You will know the dough is ready for the first raising, when you can poke your finger into it, and the hole springs back at you.

Grease the dough all over with a used margarine wrapper; cover with a towel. Set in a warm place near the fireplace- a temperature of 85 degrees is ideal.

When the dough has doubled its bulk-punch down and knead again but don't add more flour. Divide dough into even sized balls, roll each ball out for braiding (you can search youtube for braiding bread instructions) and place on a greased baking pan or place formed dough into loaf pans.

Cover again with a towel and set in a warm place for the second raising.

When raised, bake in a 400 F degree oven for about twenty minutes, until golden brown. The bread will be done, when it makes a, "hollow" sound when tapped.

On removing from the oven, grease all sides of the bread crust with butter or margarine and allow to cool.