You guys, it’s cold out! So cold that I skipped my trip to the gym that I had planned for earlier. According to the news this morning, with the windchill it feels like -26°F outside. No thank you. Instead I stayed in and decided to make a loaf of bread. (Or two). I’m sitting pretty much as close to the oven as humanly possible without being in it, and it smells amazing! Is there a better smell than homemade bread in the oven? I realized I haven’t blogged a proper bread post, step by step, so today is the day!
Here we go! Gather ingredients from pantry, canisters, etc. I used the recipe from the booklet that came with my KitchenAid. Today I just wanted the machine to do the work.
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt (I guestimated)
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine (I use butter, again I guestimated. Still can’t get the hang of cutting my butter from a giant block)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 + 1/2 teaspoons for those of use who buy yeast in a jar – it’s so much cheaper and keeps for months in the fridge)
- 1 + 1/2 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I ended up using about 5 + 1/2, which was probably a little bit much. 5 would have worked. Also, I snuck in a cup of whole wheat flour. Now that it’s healthy I can eat the whole loaf at once, covered in butter, right?)
- Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm. Is that lukewarm? I guess so…
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl (I warm my bowl by running it under hot water and then dumping the water out). Yeast is not completely dissolved, but if I keep dissolving, lukewarm milk mixture might drop to less than lukewarm. Must add milk to yeast!
- Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4+1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer (oops – my bowl was already in the mixer when I dissolved the yeast). Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.
- Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about two minutes. (I shut off the mixer when I add flour, otherwise flour would be everywhere).
- Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch (having made this recipe a few times now, I think their definition of slightly sticky feels very sticky, if that helps at all).
- Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top (I dumped some olive oil on top and rubbed it around).
- Cover (preferably with a cloth towel, though I used paper towels), let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. (I use my microwave as my warm place. As long as you remember not to use it while the dough is rising, it works quite well). Wash dishes. Vaccuum apartment, which happens to be the world’s dustiest. Despite the fact that I vaccuum every day (with a Dyson that basically has a jet engine attached), I am constantly finding dust and dirt (including mounds of sesame seeds – how many bagels do I eat?, and hair from a cat that lives in a different country) in every and all of the nooks and crannies. Talk to Mom on the phone. Clean out dead stuff from refrigerator and take the garbage out. Walk laps back and forth across apartment (all 10 feet of it) in attempt to bring Nike Fuel above -2.
- Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf (kinda), and place in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 greased loaf pans (I only have one of those, so I used an 8 x 8 brownie pan for the other loaf). Cover. Let rise in warm place (microwave), free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Seriously consider starting reading for class on Thursday, as there are a few hundred pages to be read. Agonize over sending an email and the proper language to use. Fight with Google Translate. Consider usefulness of Spanish Dictionary versus Google Translate and vice-versa. Seriously consider taking a shower, but then remember that just yesterday you managed to blow-dry your hair for the first time ever without the end result looking like a Muppet, and that showering would most definitely ruin that result. Sit down to read for school. Decide catching up on WordPress happenings to be a much better use of time.
- Bake @ 400°F until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Read other people’s blogs. Smell bread. Google Madrid. Daydream about living there again. Think about favorite Spanish things. Think about Corte Ingles. Think about the American dollar to Euro conversion ratio.
- Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks (No one wants soggy bread). Flip bread easily out of 8×8 pan, curse at loaf pan for not being so easy. Use a combination of potholders and pointy knife to pry bread from pan. Start eating glorious bread. Wonder if the miniscule amount of whole wheat flour in the dough actually has any health benefits. Wonder how many slices of bread are reasonable to eat at once. Banish thoughts of portion size from mind…
*I should mention that I noticed in the KitchenAid recipe book a warning not to make any recipes using more than 8 cups all-purpose flour or 6 cups whole wheat flour when making dough with a 4 1/2 quart mixer… This is the mixer I have and I’ve always been fine (not sure why they would include a recipe they don’t want me to use), but use your judgement, not mine.
**I also have no idea why the font got so big and wonky for this post – sorry about that! I think I just fixed it, but if not, thanks for suffering through it!