Homemade White bread
No it's not difficult, really
2 1/2 c. hot to touch water
2 T (or 1 pkg) dry yeast
3 c. flour
Mix the above together, adding the flour last. You will see the yeast begin to bubble, this is good. It means the water is warm enough. After this is mixed together, you add flour 1c at a time for cups 4 and 5, than cup 6 you add 1/2 c. at a time. A towel over your mixer, is a good idea, it will *poof* and make a mess. You than add 1/2 c. at a time until the dough is pliable, but doesn't stick to your fingers when you pinch it.
It will also pull away from the bowl. It usually takes about 7-8 c for the total recipe (including the first 3). It depends on your mixer and the humidity. Higher humidity (like rain today!) will make it take slightly more. Put it in a bowl, or leave it in your mixer bowl and spread marg. or lard (our favorite) over the top of it. Towels tend to stick, so we just leave it uncovered.
Once it doubles in size (it's not an exact science) either knead it with your hand about 50 times, or in your mixer about 3 minutes? You will than split the dough in half and roll each one separately into a rectangular shape. The point of rolling it out, is more to get the air bubbles out. You want to get as many of them as possible out of there. You than roll it up like cinnamon rolls, pressing it together as you go. Once it's shape put it in a greased pan, grease the top and let it sit till double in size again.
You then bake it at 350 for 45 min or 375 for 30 min. When you tap it, it will sound hollow when it's done. Don't over brown it. Enjoy the smell, nothing smells better than warm bread baking mmmmm. As soon as it's done, flip it out of the pan and cover it with marg (not lard). Than let it cool for about 30 min. The key to soft crust, is the marg and than putting it in a bag, or other sealed container to finish the cooling. If it's sweating in the bag, it's still to warm, open the end for a little longer. If you can't resist the smell, that go ahead and cut one loaf, big thick pieces with butter and honey or jam. MMMMMMM, you have 2 loaves, so you still have one for dinner.
If it doesn't look that great, that's ok, looks can be deceiving. It can taste wonderful and look horrible! If it falls, than have some hot, than use the rest for french toast, bread pudding or stuffing! Even us pro's have flops sometimes. This one for instance didn't get rolled out good enough. There were to many air bubbles still in it when it was put in the pan. It rose to fast and to high, but it tasted great warm!
This recipe is great because it is sooo versatile. For example, you can use it for pizza crust, a little less flour will make a thinner crust. One batch (that makes 2 loaves) will make us 2 cookie sheet size pizzas and 1 pan of bread sticks in a 9x13 pan. You can also use it to make pizza pockets. Make small circles, fill half with chicken, sauce cheese, or even pot roast type ingredients. Fold it over in half, seal the sides, butter and bake.
Or you can of course make cinnamon rolls or bread. Once you have it rolled out in the rectangle add a layer of marg than cinn/sugar, roll into a loaf and bake as you would bread OR, make what my daughter has named a super cinnamon roll!
Roll it out into a long rectangle, cover with marg and cinn/sug.
Fold in half longways, than repeat the butter and cinn/sugar process
Than put into a pie pan, in a circle roll shape. I first melt a mixture of marg, brown sugar and cinnamon in the pan. It helps keep the bottom moist and gooey. This works for a pan of cinn rolls as well. Cover with butter and let it rise. One batch (makes 2 loaves), makes 4 pie pan of rolls like this.
And here's the final product, don't forget the icing. I just use a basic icing of powdered sugar, a little vanilla and water. Let the rolls cool a little before you put the icing on, or it will just melt off. If the roll is hanging over the edge, lift it up a tad, so the icing runs under. You can cover them with a bag and save for later. Warming them in an oven makes them super good and gooey. You can freeze them as well.
So far today we have made 6 white loaves, 4 super cinn rolls and baked some squash to mix and mash!
Stay tuned, tomorrow we are making bread pudding and banana bread!