Friday, September 3, 2010

best thing since before sliced bread

What's the best thing since BEFORE sliced bread, you ask? I will tell you: homemade bread. I made some today, checking another thing off my secret "Things I Will Do Once I Move To Iowa" list. I'd made homemade artisan bread before and, while tasty, I was looking for a recipe that would be a more everyday type bread. I googled simple bread recipes and came across this beauty, reproduced here for your baking pleasure:

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

·      3/4 cup warm water
·      1 package active dry yeast
·      1 tsp salt
·      1-1/2 tbsp sugar
·      1 tbsp vegetable shortening
·      1/2 cup milk
·      3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

1.     In large bowl, add the warm water. Slowly stir in dry yeast. Continue to stir until yeast is dissolved.
2.     Add salt, sugar, shortening, and milk to bowl. Stir.
3.     Mix in the first 2 cups of flour.
4.     If needed, begin adding more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough chases the spoon around the bowl.
5.     You do not need to use up all the flour called for in this recipe, or you may need more flour than called for. The amounts vary depending on many factors, including weather, which is why most bread recipes only give an approximate amount of flour needed.
6.     Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
7.     Put dough in buttered bowl, turn dough over so that the top of dough is greased. Cover and let rise in warm spot for 1 hour.
8.     Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead.
9.     Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
10.  Form dough into loaf and set in buttered bread pan. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.
11.  Score dough by cutting three slashes across the top with a sharp knife. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
12.  Turn out bread and let cool on a rack or clean dishtowel.

I accidentally let my bread rise for two hours the first time instead of just one, and though it turned out a little misshapen, it was still delicious. Here, you can see for yourself:

Check out that golden brown goodness! Doesn't it look good enough to eat? (I'll let you in on a secret: it was.)
The lovely white innards. The bread was light and fluffy and SO good. You can see how it's not exactly symmetrical, but that didn't affect the taste at all.
So, I encourage you to be bold and try making some bread of your own! If you don't feel comfortable kneading, I'm told there are some very helpful videos on YouTube (right, Chaela?).

In other news, I have officially sent out all my emails requesting letters of recommendation for my graduate program applications (6 in all), have a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday that will hopefully end in an offer to become a binder at the conservation lab in the university library, have posted new items on my etsy (good news for all of you out there following and making comments! More goodies to choose from if you win!), and am planning on participating in a world record breaking hokey pokey dance tonight. You know, normal things.

And I am still LOVING my red velvet cake box planner.

1 comment:

S said...

CASSI!! I miss our pan parties in Spain! Why must we all be so far away?