Tuesday, July 12, 2011

White Bread

I adapted this recipe from Martha Storey's cookbook on country cooking. I highly recommend that cookbook, it's my go-to book, because it covers a lot of the basics in detail. I'm not going to share as much because I just don't have the time or space (that and blogger ate my first attempt to share this with you).
Bread is an intimidating product but it's really not that hard once you understand the basics. This recipe is super easy and over time you'll find playing with it will be fun. The bread that comes out is a basic white bread, great for sandwiches and toast. It's simple to turn into rolls and other baked goods.
Kneading is the hardest part of making bread (and the waiting) so here a good tutorial on kneading bread.
This recipe does not contain salt so the bread will only last about 5 days before molding. To extend the bread's shelf life, feel free to add 1 teaspoon salt.

White Bread
2 cups warm water
2 TB honey
1 TB yeast
2 TB oil or melted butter
5-6 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
Heat water until it's a comfortable bath temperature, you should be able to comfortably put your fingers in the water. Mix in honey until melted. Add yeast and stir. You want the yeast to be fairly mixed in. Let sit until you get about 1" foam.
In large glass bowl, pour in oil, 1 cup flour and powdered milk. Add yeast mixture and stir. Add 1 cup flour at a time until you can no longer stir the dough. Pour up to 1 cup of flour on a clean counter top and set the dough on top. Knead the flour into the dough and continue to knead until your dough is firm and even. Clean the glass bowl, dry and oil it. Roll the dough into a ball and set in glass bowl. Cover with clean dish towel and let rise in warm place. I turn my oven on to warm while I mix the dough, turn it off and set the dough inside to rise.
Let rise until the dough has doubled. Punch dough down and knead for several minutes. I do this in the bowl to save time and messes. Form 2 equal loaves and set in oiled loaf pans. Cover with towel and return to warm area. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (do not open oven for the first 20). The bread should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. It is easier to remove bread from pan and slice when cold but it tastes so good right out of the oven.
To make rolls, use a 9x13 pan and roll the dough into equal balls (about 1/2 the size you want the rolls). It takes less time to cook so check them after 15 minutes.

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