Monday, April 20, 2009
Fresh Baked Bread from the Oven
I have always wanted to try baking bread. Neither of the G-mas ever did it so I had no point of reference on how to go about doing it, but I wasn't about to let that stop me. So I took my first attempt at bread yesterday. I found a simple looking recipe online for a Farmer's Loaf (my favourite kind at the local bakery) and I set to proofing the yeast and cutting in the butter etc... I ended up with a very crumbly dough that wouldn't hold together and wasn't kneading properly. Having no idea if this was normal, but suspecting it wasnt't, I decided that I'd come this far I might as well bake it and see what happens. It was AWFUL. Misshapen, hard, lumpy, and tasted so bitter and yeasty it left a sour taste in my mouth for hours after. So into the bin it went.
This morning I woke up with the resolve that I wasn't going to let a wee bit of dough defeat me. So I got online and found a recipe for Amish bread. How hard can that be? It's Amish, if they can make it by hand and bake it in a wood fed oven I surely can make it with my KitchenAid mixer and fancy oven.
The results were heavenly! Nice chewy crust and a soft moist inside. And it was very simple to make. It takes 5.5 hours from start to finish so if you're thinking of hot fresh bread for breakfast you might want to make the dough the night before and refrigerate it and let it rise in the morning and bake it off.
The recipe makes 2 loaves, but I decided to make 1 loaf and divided the second loaf into eight pieces and made mini-loaves.
Amish Bread taken from recipezaar.com
1/4 oz dry active yeast (1 pkg)
1/4 c. water, 100 degrees Fahrenheit
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 c.water
2 1/2 tbsp shortening
6-7 c. all-purpose flour
1/8-1/4 c. butter
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tsp of sugar (taken from the 1/3 c.) until foamy and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.
2. In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, 2 cups water and shortening.
3. Stir in yeast mixture.
4. Gradually add flour to form a soft dough.
5. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth.
6. Place in a greased bowl and cover and let rise for about 2 hours.
7. Punch down and divide into 2 portions and form loaves.
8. Place in greased 9 x 5 loaf pans and prick tops with fork.
10. Let rise until higher than pans (about 2 hours).
11. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
12. Cool for 10 minutes
13. Rub butter all over tops of loaves. Place pans on sides until loosened. Remove bread from pans and cool completely on racks.