Thursday, January 21, 2010
What I did today:
I have been steadily poking and lurking around Chickens in the Road ever since I followed a link from Not Hannah's post for a homemade pop tart recipe and got a bit inspired. The blog's writer makes what she has termed "Grandmother Bread" which is a very similar recipe to a recipe that I often use to make bread.
I grew up on homemade bread. When we were little, Momma would make it all the time just for us to enjoy. As we made our way through grade school, she would send the loaves, still warm from the oven as gifts for all of our teachers. Being that we went to a small school and that there were 3 of us girls at the time, she got a reputation very fast and I remember that by the time I reached 4th grade my teacher was excited to have me in the class just because it meant she got a loaf of bread for thanksgiving and Christmas.
As we got older, we didn't really get treated to homemade bread as often. It became more of an event thing that Momma would make for church functions and weddings and that kind of thing. Now we're pretty lucky if we even get bread for Thanksgiving dinner at Momma's. Mostly she just cheats and uses the loaves from Schwan's. I gotta tell you.... it's kind of disappointing. *Laughs*
A few years ago, I got a hankering (yes, a hankering.. I am from the South after all) that just wouldn't quit for some homemade bread. I called Momma and had her email the "recipe" which is really very vague. It contains instructions like "a little of this and some of that." Her go-to recipe is one she kind of made up, putting things she had gleaned from other recipes all together, and requires that you make a starter. Now sometimes, when I'm really in the mood to spend that much time on bread, I'll make that recipe, but mostly I just use this recipe for Amish White Bread from allrecipes.
As I said, it's very close to Suzanne's recipe for Grandmother Bread except that the original recipe calls for a bit more sugar and a little more yeast. The Amish recipe also calls for 1/4 cup of oil, which hers does not. But both are dairy and egg free and VERY EASY. I would say practically fool proof. I love the Amish recipe. It's quick, calls for very little ingredients and it's extremely versatile. You can reduce the amount of sugar quite a bit without affecting the outcome of the recipe or the taste. Of course, made as is, the bread is a bit sweeter, but if you use the full amount called for it makes awesome cinnamon bread, sweet rolls, and so forth. Also sometimes, like today, I added a couple of cups of whole wheat flour in place of the All purpose and it's still amazing.
I just took it out of the oven about 25 minutes ago and between my husband and I we've already eaten about half a loaf. MMMMmmmm. There is just something so satisfying about eating bread you've made yourself. The whole process of kneading the dough is such a relaxing stress reliever. I feel so much better now. I don't know why I don't do this more often. I think I'm going to set a goal to make bread at least once a week. And who knows... maybe I'll even send a loaf or two to Ya-Ya's preschool teachers. I wonder if people would still appreciate something like that?