In my opinion there aren't many better smells than that of homemade bread baking. Okay so maybe a baby fresh out of the bath and the smell of pine in the fresh air of the mountains. However the smell of fresh bread baking brings back so many loving memories of the home I grew up in. My mom made homemade bread regularly and having a hot slice of bread with butter and honey (or homemade jam) is a little slice of heaven.
During this quarantine I decided I wanted to get really good at making homemade bread. My family isn't complaining in the least! Heres an easy recipe I got from my mother in law that is for white sandwich bread. It takes a couple of hours from start to finish and is really soft and yummy! I'll share other recipes in another post.
The trick is in the yeast (true for all breads whether it's rolls, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks etc). "Proofing yeast" as it is called is the most important step. I always do it in a glass bowl as metal doesn't seem to work for me. I use the hottest water I can stand to feel with my fingers (some say it kills the yeast, I've never had that happen), add the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar or honey (it feeds the yeast to grow). I let it sit for 10-15 minutes and let it bubble (bubble until it doubles..not exactly doubles but it's a fun saying) and then put it in with the other ingredients. The other trick is not to be in a rush. Let things raise for at least as long as the recipe says, I usually do it 15-30 minutes longer.
It is so satisfying making delicious, fluffy bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls for your family! It's a great way to connect and create traditions and memories
Homemade white bread recipe
6 ½ to 7 ½ cups of unbleached white flour
2 ½ tsp salt
2 TB yeast
¼ c honey
2 ¾ c hot water
¼ c melted butter
Butter for tops of loaves
In a glass bowl combine 1 c very hot water, 2 TB yeast and 1 TB honey. Let sit for 1--15 minutes until it starts bubbling. (metal bowls don’t work with proofing yeast)
Combine salt, remainder of honey, 1 ¾ c water, butter and 1 c flour in stand mixer. Mix well.
Add yeast mixture and 2 c flour, mix until combined well.
Add remaining flour until smooth and supple (should be a bit sticky to the touch, but not too sticky).
Lightly grease a large bowl. Transfer dough to large bowl. Cover with a light cloth/kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour)
Lightly punch down dough and divide into two equal pieces
Place in greased bread pan
Cover again with light cloth and let rise until doubled and dough has risen about 1 inch above top of pan. About an hour or more (don’t rush the rising, give it plenty of time)
While dough rises preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown
Remove from pan and butter top of loaf