Wednesday, August 22, 2012

grandma's bread

It's been deliciously cool outside the past few mornings.  With the chill in the air, I almost forget that it's still summer (although the 95+ degree weather later in the day shocks me back into reality).  One of the things I love to do once the weather starts to turn is make bread.  There's just nothing better than warm bread in the oven on a cool day! 

This bread comes from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, and it is sooooooo delicious.  The texture is amazing, and the flavor is perfect. I love it toasted with homemade peach jam. :)

My cousin and I nicknamed this bread "all day bread" because it seems to take all day to make.  It rises not once...not twice...but FOUR times!  But even though it's time consuming, it's totally worth it.  Trust me.

First, you dissolve your yeast in water.

Then, put salt, sugar, and shortening (the three "s's"!) in a large mixing bowl.  Pour boiling water over everything and stir until the shortening melts.

Add some milk...

...and some eggs...

...and then toss in the yeast and some flour.

Mix it all really well for a few minutes (stimulated gluten production), and then add in more flour until you get a stiff dough.

Turn your dough out on a floured surface, and knead, knead, knead!

Put it in a bowl to let it rise.  I usually grease my bowl first and cover it with a moistened flour sack towel.  Then, I place it in the sun beneath a window for maximum rising potential. :)


Toss the dough back onto a floured surface and knead it again.

Let it rise some more, and then punch it down (always my favorite part).

Let it rise some more, and then divide into two loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans and...yep, you guessed it...let it rise!

Yes, it takes quite a bit of time, but after you bake it, you'll want to make it again and again.

Grandma's Bread
from Gooseberry Patch's Country Baking

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. shortening
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold milk
2 eggs, beaten
6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water.  Place salt, sugar, and shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Pour boiling water over mixture, stirring constantly to melt shortening.  Add milk and eggs; mix well.  Add yeast and stir until well blended.  Add 3 1/2 cups flour and mix for 3 minutes.  Add enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Shape into a ball, place and let rise in a warm place until double, about one hour.  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead again, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Place dough back into bowl and let rise about 45 minutes. Punch dough down, turn onto lightly floured surface.  Divide dough in half and place each half into a 9" x 5" loaf pan.  Let rise until double in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.  Remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.

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