So I’ve begun this little love affair with baking bread. There is something so satisfying in watching a loaf of bread rise! I have to admit, out of all of the things to make in the world of cooking, I find bread to be the most challenging! I know! But, as a dear friend told me, she thought it was hilarious that I found cheesecake easy, I guess that we each have our own strengths. I do hope to master the art someday, but in the mean time, I think I’ll dance happily in front of my covered little bowl as the bread rises and I’ll hope it turns out just right!
There is something just so amazing about fresh homed bread. PLEASE NO BREAD MACHINES! ACK! No, I’m talking about fresh, mixed and stirred by hand, kneaded into submission sort of bread! The kind that looks beautiful and all the sides feel so delectable in your mouth– that’s the kind of bread I’m talking about.
A shout-out to bread machines– yes, they are handy, and I’m not against using them. Pizza doughs and other doughs for forming breads are much more accessible this way, but if you must use them to make your bread, at least take the dough out and let it bake in the oven!
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbs. vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 cups all purpose flour, approx.
In a large bowl, dissolve 1 package of active dry yeast in warm water. Stir until dissolved. Add salt, sugar, shortening, and milk to mixture. Mix in 2 cups of flour, checking for dryness or wetness and adding flour accordingly. If the dough seems sticky, continue to add flour, if the dough feels smooth to the touch, you do not need to add more. On a floured surface, start to knead the dough, adding more flour if needed. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Grease bowl and place dough inside, being sure to flip it once to grease all sides of the dough. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
After one hour, return to dough and punch down and knead quickly. Place bread in buttered or greased bread pan, set in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake bread for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Release bread from pan, and let cool on rack.