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Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Adventure in Bread Making

Here's my story: I had bought a forty pound bag of flour at Costco ( I think it was around $7.00), not because I needed that much, just because I was in a hurry, needed some and did not want to make another stop.  Ever do that? So here I was with all this all purpose flour, what to do with it?  Make bread and save some money right?  Well, all the recipes I found wanted bread flour.

In the past when I wanted home baked bread, I bought the frozen kind from the store, or a loaf of warm french bread.  Both are more expensive and not that good for you.  I searched and searched for a really easy recipe that could fix all of that for me and found one at for Amish Friendship bread.  With some tweaking, ended up with something really good and versatile for my family.  Of course it had to be fast too and this one is. Give it a try and see what you think.  My family is now upset if they don't get their bread fix at least every other day.  This recipe makes two big loaves, so I freeze one to use one the next bread fix day.  This means this takes me about 20 minutes prep time every four days, easy peezy, I can do that!

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/3 cup honey (you can use white sugar, but we are trying to get it out of our diet)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (I use bakipan fast rising instant yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups all purpose flour (you can use bread flour or wheat if you prefer)



In a large bowl, dissolve the honey in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast makes a creamy foam.

Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. (I do this whole process in my mixer with a bread hook, it goes fast).  Dough may come out a little sticky due to the honey, but will firm up when you knead it.  Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth (It just takes a few kneads to do this). Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

This is a great all purpose recipe, use for rolls, pizza crust or even knead in garlic powder and herbs (I use Italian seasoning) and shape like a French bread loaf on a oiled cookie sheet, cover with a towel and let rise.  This makes a great alternative to heavily buttered French bread and tastes great.  Just eyeball the amounts like you do on your regular garlic bread and you will have a great loaf!  Enjoy and keep me posted on how it goes for you!

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