In My Brain Today: Bread, the old-fashioned way


Since having kids, my culinary skills have dwindled to opening a box of organic chicken nuggets and punching the buttons on the microwave in such a succinct fashion it almost resembles music.  Why bother serving something that took time and effort to prepare if it just ends up on the floor after which the girls made nasty faces at?

Alas, my cooking skills are back.  At least my baking skills are, anyway.  I recently came across a recipe for bread.  Real bread.  Not with a bread maker version or “quick” bread in a box from the store.  No siree, this bread has to do with yeast and rise timeI read over the list of ingredients and preparation and thought, “This is cake, I can do it!”  (well, not ‘cake’ but you get the idea). 

I made my first loaf last week and it turned out delicious.  I have another hunk of dough rising right this minute.  It’s the perfect cool-weather-I-feel-like-hibernating-but-I-have-kids-and-so-I-never-get-a-break-bread.  Here’s the recipe:

THE DOUGH & THE LOAF

Hands-on Time: 5 minutes (provided you have all of the necessary “stuff” out and measured)

Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes

Makes: 4 lbs of dough

Makes a great bread–soft and savory–good for PB&J, grilled cheese, and french toast.  A single batch will make enough for 2 loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. lukewarm water
  • 1.5 T granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1.5 T coarse Kosher salt (if you have to use table salt, use just 1 T)
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. melted unsalted butter
  • 6 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour

1.  In large mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter.  Then mix in flour.  If needed, you can incorporate the last bit of flour with wet hands.

2.  Loosely cover the dough and let rise at room temp until it collapses on top, about 2 hours

3.  Use the dough immediately.  Divide into two equal sections.  One section=one loaf of bread

4.  Lightly grease a 9×5 nonstick loaf pan.  Then cloak the dough by shaping into a loaf on a floured countertop. 

5.  Once it’s in “loaf form,” place in loaf pan (about 3/4 full).  Let the dough rest for 60 minutes covered loosely with Saran wrap. 

6.  Heat oven to 350 F.  Brush top of loaf with egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 T water), use a sharp, serrated knife to make three cuts across the top.  Place loaf in oven on center rack.  Bake till brown and firm, about 45 minutes.

5.  Remove from pan, cool on wire rack completely before slicing. 

6.  Smoother with butter, eat till your heart’s content and think of yummy recipes you can do with it….cinnamon toast, gourmet grilled cheese, pumpkin-flavored french toast, turkey sandwiches…

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