First of all, I am so proud of my little girl! She lost 2 teeth yesterday! This is my first time handling lost teeth and I was totally unprepared. I had to quickly run to the store and get some “tooth fairy” stuff and then try and get it done before she went to bed. She was pretty excited to lay her teeth in the tooth fairy bed and then see that they were replaced with prizes this morning! I have a feeling that she’ll be talking about this until her next tooth falls out.
So today I’m going to do something a little different than other posts. Today is bread making day! I love bread making day. The house smells amazing and it’s actually pretty fun to make your own bread. I’ve only been doing it for a couple months, but I hope I can keep this up!
I have always loved baking. I mean, cooking is alright but nothing compares with baking. I’m not sure what it is. I love measuring out the flour and sugar, cracking the eggs, the smell of the kitchen, and (of course) licking the bowl after! Although I wouldn’t want to lick the bread bowl afterwards, it’s still baking and it’s still fun. Growing up as the eldest child in a house of 7 people, I had a lot of chances to cook and bake. Instead of doing just a batch of cookies, I’d have to do at least 3. Of course, we’d try to freeze some for lunches and stuff…but they still didn’t last super long.
I’ve always been drawn to the kitchen though. Whenever chores were divvied, I was often on kitchen duty. Even now the kitchen feels like center of my house, and I spend a lot of time in it. As I write this post I’m sitting at my kitchen counter drinking some chamomile tea enjoying the focus concentration blend in my diffuser. It doesn’t help that I have an awesome kitchen! I love my wrap around counter…although I wish these stools were a bit softer. I like to fill my kitchen (and house) with pictures of the people I love and my “china cabinet” is full of my treasures and memories. It’s just an overall calming place for me.
Anyway, back to bread! Here is the recipe that I love using. I have used other recipes, but this one always turns out great for me.
Traditional White Bread
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 tablespoons lard, softened*
- 1 tablespoon salt**
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour***
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in lard, salt and two cups of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Cover
the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden
brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
*I usually substitute for margarine. I’ve also tried coconut oil and it turned out well but just didn’t rise quite as much when baked.
**I always follow one of the comment suggestions and use less salt. Usually about 1 tsp – 1/2 tbsp.
***I like to just use all-purpose flour. I have used whole wheat flour and it worked well, but the bread was a little drier than with the all-purpose flour.
I often knead my bread by hand because it’s fun and therapeutic. But sometimes I use my awesome KitchenAid mixer that I got for Christmas! I’ve been wanting one for so long and I’m pretty pumped that I have one now!
I think I’d really like to try making my own butter, too. There is nothing better than a slice of homemade bread, fresh out of the oven, with butter on it. Yum! This recipe looks pretty good. If I ever get my hands on some heavy whipping cream I’ll definitely be trying it. Here is another super easy one.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ice water
Yep. That’s it. Oh yeah…and a blender (at least for this version.) Oh, and something to
strain the butter/buttermilk. But THAT’S it.
- You want to start with the cream at room temperature…it will go a lot faster that way. Pour the cream into the blender.
- Add salt to taste if desired. I used about a 1/4 teaspoon.
- Blend on medium-high speed for 3-5 (or more) minutes. How long this step takes will be highly dependent on your blender. It could take up to 10 minutes in an older blender.
- Just keep an eye on it and when the butter starts to separate into butter and buttermilk stop the blender.
- Let the cream sit for a minute or two as the butter rises to the top. Pour the buttermilk off into another container.
- Rise until water runs clear, or about 6 or 7 times. (Add cold water to blender and pulse for a few seconds, then rinse)
- Spoon butter into a strainer to drain. At this point you can pack your butter into molds or form it into a log like I did. Stick it in the refrigerator to chill.
Sounds pretty good right?
Ok, I think I’ve spent enough typing for now. Time to get making this bread! I hope you all have a great day and remember, there is always hope.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
“All sorrows are less with bread.”
Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author. (1547-1616)