Thursday, July 3, 2014

The World's Best Sandwich Bread

I have a love/hate relationship with bread. I hate it because once I start eating it I have a tendency to not be able to stop and then I get chubby and my joints ache. On the other hand, I believe that bread making is a lost art, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a row of hot, golden loaves that you produced yourself.

I figure that if you're going to eat bread, far better to make your own and avoid all the preservatives and crap that you'll get from a loaf at the grocery store, and you save a ton of money!

Here is the world's best sandwich bread ever. I'm not kidding. It tastes pretty freaking awesome dipped into stews, served with a glass of milk and smothered with butter and honey. Or ripped off in a hunk and served with aged salami and a really good glass of Bordeaux...yum.

Note: Getting your water the correct temperature is one of the most important steps in bread making, besides kneading. If the water you use to proof your yeast in is too cool, your bread won't rise enough or have the chewy, springy texture. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and also give you a loaf of bread that resembles a brick. Add a teaspoon of sugar to your yeast as it proofs, stir it in and it should be poofy and foamy over your little bowl in about 5 minutes. If 5 minutes has passed, start over and try again! 

2 cups milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar or 1 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
11 cups flour, approximately
2 packages active dried yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar

Scald milk, butter, sugar or honey and salt. (Milk is scalded when there is a ring of small bubbles around the edge of the pot. DON'T boil!!) Put mixture in a very large bowl and the water. Add 1 cup or so of flour. When mixture is lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water with just a pinch of sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof. When yeast is foamy, add to the milk mixture. Add enough flour to make a dough and knead for 10 minutes. Let rise twice, punching down between each rising then divide between 4 greased loaf pans. Let rise until double, bake in a 350 degree F oven for about an hour, until crusty brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Allow to cool on racks.

Makes 4 loaves
Adapted from a 200 year old recipe from Scotland, via Tasha Tudor

What is your favorite bread recipe?? 

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