Two years ago, I epically failed at making bread. I went into it with such gusto… but it was so traumatic that it took a full 2 years for me to pull up the courage to try again.
I received a recipe that my friend Lillian had been using for years. By the time I put all the dough together and kneaded, I wound up with a perfect ball of dough. A much better state than the one from 2 years ago at this point.
And then I left for a bit and came back the requested 1 hour later and was overjoyed to see my dough had risen SO MUCH that it was playing pic-a-boo under my dish towel.
Now that was SOME rise!
I pulled it out and took out some aggression by punching it in the face. (And while you’re there… LIKE NYC Nom Nom on Facebook!)
I then split it into 2 loaf pans and one mini loaf pan.
And since I just can’t 100% follow a recipe without adding something to it… I painted the top of olive oil and then added flake salt to the top of the mini loaf.
And when it came out of the oven, I was ecstatic. Not only did it LOOK like bread… it SMELLED like bread!
And it’s hard to resist a wee loaf.
The bigger loafs also… amazingly… both LOOKED and SMELLED like bread. It was so satisfying! (So satisfying, in fact, that I debated not cutting into it just in case I screwed something up)
But cut into it we did and it sliced up perfectly.
And then we ate it with homemade jam…
And it was good.
It was BREAD! Real bread!
And I made it.
Homemade White Bread from Lillian (original source unknown)
7 1/4 to 7 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon nonfat dry-milk powder (they sell this in big packets in big boxes)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups water
1/3 cups shortening
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of the bread flour, the nonfat milk powder and yeast; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat and stir water, shortening, sugar and salt until just warm and shortening almost melts (I actually got nervous because I know temperature is important for yeast, so I looked it up and found this handy dandy chart. I realized my water was WAY too hot already, so I pulled it and let it cool down to below 130°)
- Add water mixture to the dry mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly.
- Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
- Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a wooden spoon.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that’s smooth and elastic (8-9 minutes total). Shape the dough into a ball.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (45-60 minutes)
- Punch dough down.
- Turn out again onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 2 or 3 equal portions.
- Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans or three 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.
- Shape each portion of dough into a loaf by rolling on a lightly floured surface into a 12×8 inch rectangle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from the short side. Seal with fingertips as you roll.
- Place into prepared loaf pans.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (20-30 minutes). (Mine didn’t really rise MUCH more, I guess because it rose SO much in the first round, but it turned out just fine)
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top with your finger. (My mini loaf took about 20 minutes total)
- Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.
YIELD: 2 or 3 loaves