Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Bit of Bread and Butter

Opening the windows and breezing out the warm fresh smell of homemade bread is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do as a house wife.
 Ever since I realized that its cost about 1.50$ per loaf of bread instead of the 2.50$ a loaf or higher at the store I don't think I'll ever go back to buying bread. It also tastes better and has no preservatives in it (which is a big plus to me)! I do have to say though, that it DOES get harder quicker so if you makes this recipe and think you won't use BOTH loafs I suggest storing one in the freezer in a bag (I snag extra bags from the produce isle when I go grocery shopping so I don't spend extra on zip-lock bags and just tie the end nice and snug). Another great thing I like to do with this recipe is mess with it! Yep mom, I fiddle with a recipe. I like to add in herbs or cheese or bits of chopped up sweet peppers or jalapenos for the hubby to turn this already-great-for-sandwiches bread into fancy-smansy bread to serve with homemade butter (recipe included) to serve to guest so I have a little wiggle room before dinner or snakes are ready!

 Well enough about it already. I'm sure you’re all drooling now so here's the recipe!
  You will need: a medium bread pan and or a baking sheet, a LARGE mixing bowl, plastic wrap or aluminum foil, a rubber spatula, casserole pan

  • 6 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tb spoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tb spoon salt
  • 2 Cups warm water
  • corn meal or oil
1.     In your large mixing bowl add the flower, yeast, and salt. Mix together well.
2.     Add in the warm water and stir just until it’s all combined (it should be rather sticky but not wet or dry). 
3.     cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and set in a warm place ( I put mine buy the fire but if you don't have or use your fire place you can put it on the preheating stove)
4.     Preheat stove to 400 F and let bread rise for 3-4 hours. 
5.     Once bread rises powder your hands with four (this is going to get messy so you might want to take off any jewelry); separate the dough into two. 
6.     You can roll it into a ball and bake it on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal or coat a bread pan with a little bit of oil either way the loaf will come out find. It all depends on if you want a loaf or a round. Now is the time to add herbs or any extras that you might want in the bread if you like. 
7.     Cut a slit in the top of the loaf before baking (you don't have to do this but it helps the heat escape and if you don't the loaf will make its own tear later wherever). 
8.     Add 1-2 cups of water to your casserole pan and place it in the preheated oven on a rack just under the middle rack. Put the loaf in the over on the middle rack and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the bread is golden on the top and a knife shows clear when the loaf is pierced. 
Homemade Butter
You will need: an electric mixer, a medium mixing bowl, and an air tight container (I use old jelly jars). 
Ingredients: Heavy whipping cream (yep... that's it!)
1.     Whip the whipping cream on high until it is past the point of a stiff peak. It will start to turn yellowish and become hard to whip and somewhat solid. This is butter! I like to add just a little bit of garlic or salt to mine to make it taste just right on fresh bread but you can eat it just like this! 

Word of caution: this is NOT butter made for baking with it is too soft. This is butter spread and will not work for baking recipes. But hay, it sure is amazing on fresh bread or muffins so enjoy!

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