I was born in Northern Ireland so potatoes and bread are something that not only was I reared on, but I love. I am of the firm opinion that there is nothing that isn’t improved by slapping it between two pieces of bread, or by having bread dunked into it. Sometimes both.
So when a friend mentioned making bread a couple of years ago I was determined to learn.
Thankfully she was not only willing to teach, but had the fool proof recipe.
Actually, it wasn’t. I managed to make a mess of it the first time. Rock hard dough baked into a stone.
Turns out when the recipe says tepid water it means just that. You can kill yeast. I did.
But once we figured out what I had done wrong there was no stopping me. Kneading the bread really is a great way to work out tension and stress. There are several problems solved thanks to a good loaf.
Fresh bread… And a smell that would sell a house!
- 2 pkgs yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 2/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp shortening (I use butter, because butter makes everything better!)
- 9-10 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in 3/4 cup of water, follow directions on envelope.
Stir in 2 2/3 cups warm water, sugar, salt, shortening, and 5 cups flour. Beat until smooth.
Mix in enough of remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn onto floured board and knead until elastic ( about 10 mins.)
Let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled (I set it into the oven to avoid drafts in the winter)
Punch down and cut in half.
Roll into rectangles. Roll up narrow end to narrow end and place seam down in bread pan.
Brush with butter and let rise until double.
Bake at 425 for 30 mins or until dark brown and hollow sounding.
Brush again with butter for a shiny crust, if desired.
Rolls are punched down, cut into 12 pieces, rolled and place in buttered pan to rise. It takes slightly less time to bake, about 25 mins.
I feel so clever every time I make bread. It really is easy, but it feels like you have achieved something important. Easily pleased, aren’t I?