Saturday, April 18, 2009

Updated Bread Recipe

Since I make all our family bread (without a bread maker), I have plenty of time to mess with the traditional recipe I learned from my mother, which requires no kneading and makes fantastic bread.

Here is the recipe I am currently using, somewhat modified from my mother's recipe:

Put into a kitchenaid mixer bowl in this order:

1/8-1/3 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 c oil
1 tbsp yeast
2 c hot water (bathwater hot)
4 heaping (as heaping as you can get them in one scoop) cups flour (plus up to 1 c more as needed)
2 eggs (optional, but improves the loft of the finished loaves--makes them raise to be huge--and adds protein)
6 tbsp powdered milk (optional, but improves the crumb, or texture, of the bread and adds nutrients)
1/2 c mashed potato flakes (optional, but keeps the bread moister longer, increasing the 'shelf life', corrects for the extra moisture of the added eggs, improves the texture--soft but slightly dense--and adds nutrients)

Mix it using the dough hook on low until it forms a slightly sticky, heavy, sort-of-uniform mass around the dough hook. Play with it in your hands for about 30 seconds (It will be lumpy; don't worry about it), and then put it into a greased bowl and microwave for 10 seconds. Turn it over and microwave 10 more seconds. Cover (I use plastic wrap, lots of people prefer a damp towel with a plate over it to keep it damp). Set in warm place (I heat the oven to 100 degrees, turn it off, and put it in there--it keeps the kids from snitching). Let it raise 3 times for 30 minutes each, punching down between. After 3rd raising period, divide the dough into equal parts (2 for large pans, 3 for medium bread pans), form each part into a rough log shape in your hands, and put it into greased loaf pans--2 large ones or three medium ones. Cover and let raise 20 minutes. Turn on the oven (I have to take the loaves out at this point) to 350 degrees and let the bread raise for 10 more minutes while the oven pre-heats. Bake for 30 minutes. Dump loaves out of pans immediately after they come out of the oven, cover them with a damp cloth or damp paper towels and a dry cloth (I drop the hot pads on top) to let it cool and soften the crust.

I have made this dough into bread, pizza crust, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, navajo fry bread (except a Cherokee woman told me I actually made Cherokee fry bread--apparently the difference is the presence of yeast in the dough), dinner rolls, bread bowls for soup/chili, bread sticks, "hot pockets", deep fried hot pockets (better than the baked variety by a thousand times), and play dough (that wasn't intentional--one of the kids thought they were helping). I might have tried it for pretzels.

Easy and excellent--you can even slice it thin and it holds together!

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