Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bread Recipe

Ok. You asked for it.
So I'm going to share.
But I first need to insert a disclaimer.
This is an OLD recipe.
My grandma's. She would have been in her 90s if she were still alive today.
And I'm sure she was taught this recipe.
It's not really a "recipe".
It's a guide.
And my mom wouldn't give it to me until she taught it to me.
It takes practice.
It's best learned by example.
SO...you may waste 10 cups or so of flour and 3-4 cups of milk.
and 3-4 pkgs of yeast.
And be totally frustrated.
But if you master it, it's awesome!
With that said, here it is. In its entirety...with my notes included.

Grandma's Bread
3 cups milk
1/3 cup water
2 TBL butter
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 yeast packets
6 TBL sugar
approx 9 cups flour (i use 7 unbleached all-purpose and 2 whole wheat)

Heat in a sauce pan, over medium-low heat until butter starts to melt, but it's not boiling:
3 c milk (do not use skim. if you must, use part 1/2 and 1/2)
1/3 c water
2 TBL butter

While that is heating, sift together:
3 c flour
3 packets of quick-rise yeast (if you use regular yeast, that's fine, just remember it will need to rise longer)
6 TBL sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt

Place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and wait for wet ingredients to get hot.

Then add the warm liquid to the dry ingredients and mix slowly for 2 minutes.
Slowly begin to add the remaining flour. (at this point i add the 2 cups whole wheat first and then continue with the remaing all purpose).
I have a Kitchenaid mixer. I use the bread hook and I can usually add all but about 1 cup of the flour before I start kneading the rest in.
When you get to the last cup or 2, you'll need to knead in the rest.
Dump some flour on the counter, dump your dough on top and start kneading like crazy.
It's a work-out. I'm serious.
You'll have to keep adding the flour about a 1/2 cup at a time. Knead it until it's mixed in completely. If the dough is still sticky, keep kneading in more.
The recipe says "knead until the dough is the right texture".
how is someone supposed to know the right texture?
the best i can describe is to say
when you knead it, and you pull your hand away, the dough should not pull off and stick to your hand. It will just be a little "tacky". It will make a sticking noise, but will not attach to your hand. make sense?

Now take a big bowl and grease it.
Toss you dough in the bowl and punch it down so the bottom gets covered with the crisco.
then flip the whole ball over so the greased part is facing up.
Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise.
It should double or triple in size.
Mine usually takes about 45 min - 1 hour.
But it seriously depends on the weather. The temperature. The humidity, etc.
If you push your finger in it and it leaves a hole, it's done. If it bounces back, it's not.
See...super technical.
While it's rising, grease 2 cookie sheets with crisco.
When it's done rising, punch it down in the bowl. You are trying to get the air out.
Now divide it into 4 loaves.
Take one of the blobs and flatten it down. Pressing out all the air.
You want to get out all air pockets....or there will be holes in your bread.
So flatten it down and begin rolling it.
As you roll it, squeeze it and tuck in the ends.
Again, squeezing out the air pockets and you are rolling to avoid holes in the bread.
When it's all rolled up, pinch along the seam so the bread doesn't pull apart when it starts baking.
place the bread, seam side down on the greased cookie sheet.
Take a knife and make diagonal slices along the top about 1/4 inch deep.
Repeat with the remaining loaves.
2 loaves to a sheet.
Cover again with damp tea towel and let rise for about 15 min.
While it's rising, preheat oven to 350.
Right before you put it in the oven, cover the top with egg white so it browns while baking.
Make sure you rub it in the slits and along the sides.
Bake for 25 min, give or take 5 min.

It will look like this when it's ready to come out!
YUM! if you like bread. which i'm not a huge fan. but it always smells awesome. :)

Whew. That was long. And probably annoyingly detailed.
But since I can't be there to do it with you the first time, you need to know these things!
AND...I make 6 loaves at a time.
I use 4 cups of milk and 4 yeast packets and a little more sugar and salt and increase the flour by a cup or 2.
And I make it every monday.
6 loaves.
If we're lucky, they last us a week.
We eat it as toast and sandwich bread and a side with our meals. :)
Oh, and I make croutons with the ends for salads.
So there ya go.
Good luck.
I'd rather have a giant bread baking party, but most who have asked live out of town. So that might be difficult!
If you make it, let me know how it turns out!!
Happy bread baking!


Beckysblog said...

Cassica...you forgot the most important part for knowing when the milk is heated to the correct temp.

Remember, 'touch the side of the pan and if you pull your hand away and say ohh ohh...its ready! '

very important detail!

Cassie said...

i know becky!
that's why i hesitate to post it!!
it's those little things that can make or break it! plus, i thought i'd sound silly if i put that part in there. because it does NOT sound silly in real life! :)
go make some bread!!!

Candi said...

You didn't say what type yeast to use... I use Rapid rise, it cuts down the time a lot I think. :)
Becky, that is a GREAT detail you all need to know : )

Candi said...

Oops! I didn't read on before I commented. I just noticed that you DID specify the type of yeast! I'm a ditz!