Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bread

     For nearly as long as I can remember, whenever my mother decided to bake some bread, she's always used this recipe. My siblings and I have always looked forward to Mama's homemade bread (my brother Harrison is the super bread monster!); and a couple years ago she taught my younger sister and I how to make it. It goes wonderfully well with soup!

Ingredients (makes two loaves):

3 Tb butter
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp salt
3Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
about 6 cups bread flour
a little oil

Step 1: Put 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar into a small saucepan. Heat milk until it begins to bubble and set aside to cool. After it has cooled, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.







               Mixture is moved to another burner to cool before adding the vanilla.
                                           

Step 2: Pour either 1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast into a bowl. Add two cups of hotter-than-lukewarm-but-cool-enough-to-touch water and stir.

                                                              Pick one!







Step 3: After heated mixture has cooled, add to yeast mixture.  Then add a few cups of flour and mix.


Keep stirring and adding flour until the dough looks like this:


Then, sprinkle some flour on your (clean!) work space and knead, adding more flour until it reaches the correct consistency. It should feel rubbery, but not sticky.


Here's what the finished dough should look like.
Step 4: Pour about a capful of oil into a large bowl, and place your lump of dough into it. Rotate the bread dough so that the oil covers its entire surface; however, do not mix the oil into the bread dough. Add more oil as needed. Cover with a towel and let rise for an hour.



Step 5: After the dough has risen, punch it down and let rest for another 15 minutes.  This removes any air pockets and will prevent your bread from getting "holes".


                  Step 6: Take out the dough and divide it into two even lumps.


First, roll one lump into a rectangular shape
Fold over the top half slightly more than halfway
Then, pull over the sides.
Lastly, pull up the bottom.


Step 7: Grease the bread pans and put the dough in them seam side down. Repeat with the other ball of dough.

Don't forget to spray the pans!

Step 8: Gently rub some oil on the top of the loaves to keep them from drying out. Cover and let rise for another hour.


Step 9: Spread a little more oil onto the top of the loaves and bake them at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


Zip them in freezer bags while still warm, and the bread will stay moist.
Enjoy a slice with a slither of butter, a tall glass of cold milk, and a mug of warm soup :)

                                                                                                              ~ Hayden

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