I know I mentioned a while ago that because my darling dearest needed to reduce his sodium intake, I started baking bread. It is amazing how much sodium is in a loaf of store bought bread. Anyway, in our part of the world store bought bread has become a rare commodity with entire store shelves being barren, so even if we wanted to buy bread, we can’t. Also I find baking therapeutic.
So on the off chance you find yourself in a similar situation, I am posting one of my favorite recipes. It came from my Aunt. I have no idea where she got it, but it makes one loaf and is what we have been using. So on the off chance you want to try your hand at this, I’m posting the recipe below. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook the hardest part is waiting. even without, it isn’t that hard. So here we go,
3 cups/384 g Bread flour (you can use all purpose, but it tends not to get as good a rise), keep a little extra flour for dusting the surface and in case you need to add more to counteract humidity.
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup water (warmed to 120 degrees)
2 tsp honey
2 T butter (unsalted)
1 T sugar
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
place yeast pinch of flour, and sugar and warm water in a bowl. Set aside until foamy (10-15 minutes)
put milk and butter into a bowl and put in the microwave for 30 seconds on high, stir and then do another 30 seconds to melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, you can take it out of the microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, put them in a pan on the stove top on medium to heat. If both are taken from the fridge, then when the butter melts, the milk will be warm enough.
If using a stand mixer with a dough hook: add three cups/384 g of bread flour to the mixer. Add honey, salt, warmed milk and melted butter and the contents of the foamy yeast bowl (essentially everything goes in). Start the mixer on low so things don’t go flying (abt 1 minute) when they are mixed up a bit set it between two and three on your speed settings and let it go for anywhere from 8-10 minutes or until it forms a ball. It doesn’t need to be a smooth ball just a cohesive dough. If it looks like it is too wet, add a little more flour (by Tablespoons) and continue with the hook until incorporated and it is a still somewhat sticky mass.
Then stop the mixer, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and give it a few final kneads until it is a smooth ball of dough.
If not using a stand mixer. Put all of the above ingredients into a bowl, blend with a silicone spatula until it is a dough, then turn out onto a flowered work surface and knead until it is a smooth ball of dough.
Once smooth, put into a greased bowl, turning once to oil all sides of your dough ball, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
Once the dough has doubled in size, grease a regular sized loaf pan, make sure to get the corners. place the pan next to the bowl and remove the plastic wrap from the bowl (don’t throw away).
Lift the risen dough out of the bowl and place it into the greased loaf pan. Shape it so it fills the pan but try not to touch it too much.
Cover the loaf pan and dough with the plastic wrap and let sit for another 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Once dough has its second rise, take the plastic wrap off of the loaf pan and put the loaf pan with dough in the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until you hear a hollow sound when you tap the loaf with a knife.
turn it out on a rack, making sure it’s right side up, let cool and slice as you want.
I like this recipe because it is super easy and you really don’t have to do much to the dough. You mostly just have to leave it alone. The bread has a good crumb and is substantial enough to support most ingredients. It toasts well and it freezes well. If you freeze it, let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap then insert it into a freezer bag for extra security.
I know this post is a little out of the ordinary for me, but hopefully you will find it useful.