Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baking Day

I need to take something to a quilt group potluck tomorrow and I've decided to bake bread. 


I’m using a recipe from this cookbook that I've had forever, The Best of Sunset Magazine. It was published in 1987 and I know I've had it at least that long. One of my favorite bread recipes is the Sheepherders Bread and I follow the directions exactly. It comes out perfect every time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, margarine, or shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • About 9 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salad oil

Preparation

1. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups very hot tap water with butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until butter melts; let cool until warm (110° to 115°). Stir in yeast; cover and set in a warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
2. Add 5 cups of the flour. Beat with a heavy-duty mixer or spoon just until batter is stretchy, 2 to 5 minutes. Mix in enough of the remaining flour, about 3 1/2 cups, to form a stiff dough.
3. To knead with a dough hook, beat on medium speed until dough pulls from side of bowl and no longer feels sticky, about 5 minutes. If required, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
To knead by hand, scrape dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding flour as required to prevent sticking. Rinse bowl and rub with oil. Return dough to bowl and turn over to coat with oil.

I use my microwave as a proofing box - warm a cup of water in the microwave and but the dough bowl inside with the warm water, close it up and you have a nice warm proofing box. Don't turn the microwave on again, that would be a disaster!

4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, if using a 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, cut a circle of foil to fit bottom of pan; put foil in pan. Rub the foil and sides of pan generously with salad oil. A nonstick pan that is not worn needs no preparation.
After the first rise the dough is ready to knead

6. Knead dough with dough hook or on a floured board to expel air, then form into a smooth ball.
Knead until it's nice and smooth. This is my favorite part of bread baking
Dough is starting to rise in the pan

 7. Place dough in baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled again, 45 minutes to 1 hour; watch closely so it doesn't rise too much.
 8. Bake, uncovered, in a 350° oven until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, 50 to 55 minutes.
9. Remove bread from oven and invert onto a rack (you'll need a helper); remove foil and turn loaf right side up. Cool at least 45 minutes. Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.


Remember - it doesn't have to look perfect because it tastes perfectly heavenly!


Baking bread is very relaxing for me and a completely self-taught skill. I love the entire process from mixing, to kneading, to rising, to baking. But of course the best part is eating.

I found the recipe on the web here: My Recipes.com 

4 comments:

  1. I love to bake bread too! This looks like a super recipe, and it makes such a pretty shape. I'm impressed. Well done!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda, give this a try when you need to feed a crowd - it's big!

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  2. This looks marvelous! I can't wait to try it. Thank you very much for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy it, try it with honey butter. Oh my goodness.
      Patrica

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Thanks for your comments. I love hearing what you have to say.