Monday, January 10, 2011

Homemade Bread....Attempt #1

This weekend I received an email from a friend we met at church when we lived in Virginia.  Several years have passed now, we live in North Carolina and she lives in Wisconsin.
She saw my request for a homemade whole wheat loaf bread recipe and sent this one my way:

To make 3 loaves:  Actually I ended up with 2 big loaves
Have ingredients at about 75°.   
I just set them out on the counter this morning and let them come to room temperature.  It worked fine. 

1 package yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup 85° degree water (I used the microwave to heat mine up a doesn't take long!) Let this stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes.

Add in:
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup melted shortening
2-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
Mix with paddle attachment until well incorporated.

Sift in:
4 cups white flour (I used unbleached all purpose)
4 cups wheat grain flour (I used whole wheat)
Mix with paddle attachment until dough begins to form.

Cover dough with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place (I use my oven...turned off, of course.) for about an hour.

Divide dough into greased or buttered loaf pans and allow it to rise in a warm place for another hour or so.

To Bake: 
Place loaves in a cold oven.
Turn the heat to 400° degrees.
After 15 minutes reduce heat to 375° degrees and bake 25 minutes longer.
Remove the loaves from pan and cool on a rack before storing.

My thoughts:
The bread has a great crust and texture.  It tastes a little bland when eating it plain but very good with a little butter or as a sandwich....which is how we usually eat it.  It rose beautifully and made a nice looking loaf.

I'm not satisfied with making this my "go-to" recipe because of the addition of the shortening.  I'd also prefer to use our local honey as the sweetener instead of sugar - and I could make the switch in this recipe without altering the outcome too much.  

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I'm all ears.

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