Thursday, August 9, 2012

amish sandwich bread

Six simple ingredients... one great recipe!  It's hard to believe so little can produce such wonderful results!

For years I was afraid of attempting homemade bread.  I don't know why.  I had it in my head that it was the hardest, most difficult thing to accomplish in the kitchen.  I expected failure, which is kind of unlike me.

About two years ago, I decided I was up for the challenge.  I began my quest for great recipes and have found some that are nearly fool-proof.  This one is at the top of the list.  It is versatile, it is simple, and it is oh-my-goodness good!  The recipe makes two loaves, so I usually take a couple of hours first thing on a Saturday and have a good week to two weeks worth by late morning.  It is rare that I buy store-bought now.  I promise, once you make it for the third or fourth time, it becomes second nature.

The great thing I love about this recipe is it's interchangeable.  Although I love all white bread, our family has always eaten 100% whole wheat to try to be a bit more healthy.  This version can handle whatever you choose - half white/half wheat, all wheat, all white always works... whatever your family prefers.  And... I'll share later what I sometimes do with half the recipe - YUM!

There is something about making hand-kneaded bread to give away - a tasty bite of hard work, time, and comfort all rolled into one.  It can't make you feel anything but good, and my oh my, how glorious the house smells...  Go and bless someone (and yourself)!

Amish White Bread - makes 2 loaves

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour (any works well, but we do half bread flour, half wheat)  
~ In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water and stir in yeast.  Let it proof until it 
    resembles creamy foam, as seen in the following picture.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.

~ Mix salt and oil into yeast, and add flour one cup at a time.  Mix until fully incorporated.
    A dough hook works really well here, or you can mix by hand (and build terrific triceps
    while you're at it!). 
~ Once mixture is in a ball, knead on lightly floured counter for a few minutes until     
    smooth, like this:

You can allow most of the mixing to take place with the dough hook and only do a few kneads by hand.  It works just fine.  Or, you can do it all by hand.

~ Place smooth ball into well-greased, large bowl and cover with a damp dishtowel.  Put in

   a warm place.  I turn on my oven to 400 degrees and allow to heat one minute.  I turn it 
   off and open the door for a few seconds and then put the bowl inside.
~ When doubled in size (about one hour), remove from oven and punch dough down, 
    kneading a few more minutes.
~ Divide dough into two sections, shape into two loaves, and place in well-greased 9x5 inch 
    loaf pans.  Allow to rise to about one inch above rim of pan, about 30 minutes.
~ Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes