Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best Bread Ever

    Whats more fun than play-doh, and can be eaten after you are done playing? Bread dough!  I've been making most of our own bread lately, and have had fun trying out new recipes and experimenting with the tried and true ones, and I think I might have come up with the perfect loaf today. 

     This is something the whole family (well, except for Dave.  Kneading bread doesn't really excite him) gets into.  I could use my mixer to do the needing for me, but I actually like kneading bread, and the kids love it.  I let them keep their little creations, and bake them separate. Frankly, I really wouldn't want to eat anything that's been patted, dropped, licked, and smooshed by miscellaneous body parts. (Does this stick to my tummy?)  So keeping their stuff separate is a good idea.

     Anna and Abriel are very into the whole kneading process, whereas Samuel likes to "cook" with it.  I think the first few times I gave him dough he ate it all before I could bake it, and once he thought it would be fun to knead while going potty.  That one made it to the trash. 
    Anna has started to learn that the whole process needs to take time, and that if you rush it, it wont be as good.  It is a good tool for learning patience and delayed gratification, two seldomly taught virtues these days.  

    Here it is!  The finished loaf.  When it came out of the oven Anna said, "Wow, that looks just like bakers bread!"  Whatever that means.  Maybe it looks "professional".  It was delicious; best bread I've made yet.
Here's the recipe below.

Sandwich Bread from the Joy of Cooking, slightly modified by me
In a large mixing bowl, let stand until dissolved:
 4 tsp yeast
 1/4 cup warm water
Add 1 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 Tlb oil
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 Tbl salt
Stir in 2 cups white flour
Gradually stir in 2 1/2 - 3 cups white whole wheat flour
Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic. 
Coat dough with oil, and let rise, covered, until doubled or more in volume. Punch dough down and form into two ovals and place in two 8 1/2" by 4 1/2" bread pans.  I baked mine in one big pan, but I took out quite a bit of dough for the kids.  Let rise again for about an hour or more.  Bake @ 350 for 40 minutes, or until loaves are brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Enjoy!

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