Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nan's Bread

1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 Tbsps. honey
3/4 (scant) Tbsp. salt
2+ cups of hot water
6-7 cups unbleached flour
1 egg
7/8 (scant) cup warm water
2 Tbsps. dry yeast
2 tsps. sugar

Into the KitchenAid mixer, put butter (or olive oil), honey, salt and hot water.

Add a little flour and start the mixer. Keep it going. Continue adding flour until it holds together well, isn't soupy but isn't all dry. If too dry, add more water. Keep mixer going at low speed and then turn it up higher if you want.

After this mix has cooled down a bit, add an egg and continue mixing.

In the meantime, run some warm water from the tap. Maybe around a scant cup. You don't want it cool, and you don't want it hot to the touch. Just a nice, warm temp. Put the water into a bowl, and add 2 T. dry yeast and around 2 t. sugar. This sugar helps the yeast grow.

When this is all bubbly, and the mix in the KA is cool, add the yeast mix to the stopped KA. This is a little tricky because if you start the mixer right after it may splash all over. I put in the yeast mix and some flour and start the mixer on the lowest speed. Keep adding some flour until you see strands of dough. Not too much flour. Always better to have too little than too much. Too much makes it dry. You can always add more flour.

Then I cover the KA bowl with a dampened with warm water tea towel For the rising, you'll want to put the bowl in a warm place with no drafts. I often warm my oven for a couple minutes and then TURN IT OFF and put the bowl in there. When it reaches the top of the bowl or touches the towel, put some flour on a surface. I have a marble board, but you can use the counter or a wooden cutting board, whatever you want. Spoon out the mixture and move it around in your hands but not for too long. Then I cut it into four sections, and make four balls. I spray cooking spray into two glass loaf pans, and put two balls in each. Then I put the pans on top of my stove covered with that damp towel. At this point, I turn on the oven to 360ยบ. Yes, it wastes energy but I have found over the years that it is better the stove be all ready when the balls rise and are ready to bake. The balls don't have to reach over the top of the pans. Just to the top is okay. If it rises too much, it can come crashing down (deflate) so it is better to err on the side of not rising too much.

Then bake until browned and sound hollow when you tap them. You want them brown on the bottom too, not just the top. That's why I like glass pans because I can see well. Then tip them out onto a cooling rack, and (this is the hard part) wait about 20 minutes before cutting. It kinda hurts the "integrity" of the bread to cut it too soon.

So, there you go. Nan, channeling Virginia Woolf's stream of consciousness about breadmaking. I am not even reading over what I wrote. I wrote it as I make it.


My dear friend Nan sent me this recipe on January 27, 2007. I followed her instructions and the bread turned out absolutely perfect and delicious!! I wound up using about 6 1/2 cups of unbleached flour. Instead of leaving the dough in the Kitchen Aid bowl, I turned it out in a greased bowl which apparently wasn't quite big enough! I used two metal loaf pans instead of the recommended glass pans, and I didn't preheat the oven while the dough balls were rising in the pans. I baked the bread at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.



At 4:38 PM, Blogger Heather said...

There is absolutely nothing better than fresh baked bread. Except when it has butter on it and it is going into my mouth. That looks SO good!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Les said...

Heather - It's incredibly delicious! Especially with real butter and, perhaps, homemade strawberry jam. Yum! Next time I make this, I'm going to make small dinner rolls. So much for a low-carb lifestyle.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Kristen said...

That looks like amazing bread! I think I'll make this today. Thanks for the recipe.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Les said...

Kristen - Thanks. It's quite delicious, but I can't take credit for the recipe. Hope it turned out well for you.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Nan said...

You may indeed take credit. :<) When you make it, it is yours. "My" recipe is the same as women have been making for hundreds of years. Yeast, flour, butter, sugar, salt, and maybe an egg. I now bequeath this particular recipe, "Les' Bread."

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Les said...

Aw, thanks Nan. I think I'll keep the name as is, though, so I can remember who gave me the recipe. My memory isn't what it used to be!


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