Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homemade Bread

This morning my kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread - one of the most amazing smells ever! About once a month I bake my bread, and then freeze the extra loaves, and use as needed. Today was a bread baking day for me. The recipe I'm sharing with you today came from a friend - along with a "starter mix." It it the best white bread recipe I've found yet.

In order to make this bread you need to make a "starter." To do this, you combine the following ingredients into a large glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap:

1/2 cup of sugar
3 TBSP of instant dry potato flakes
1 cup of warm water

Put the initial starter in the refrigerator 5-7 days. Then take it out and feed the starter with the following:

1/2 cup of sugar
3 TBSP of instant potato flakes
1 cup of warm water

Mix this well and stir into the starter.

Take out 1 cup of starter to use in bread and return remaining starter to the refrigerator. Keep refrigerated 5-7 days, then feed it again. If you do not make bread on the day you feed, throw out a cup of the starter (or give it to someone as their starter). The bread has to be fed every week, and a cup has to be removed each time. 

To make your bread:

In a large bowl, make a stiff batter of:
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 TBSP salt
1 cup starter
1 1/2 cup warm water
6 cups of flour

Grease a large bowl, put in the dough and roll it around. Let it rise overnight (or 8-12 hours) covered lightly with a dish towel. Do not refrigerate the dough.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 parts - knead each part 8-15 times on a well floured surface. Put into greased loaf pans and brush the top with oil (I also separate it into rolls, and put the rolls into a cake pan). Cover and let it rise 6-12 hours.

Bake on the bottom rack of the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove and brush with melted butter. Cool on a rack. Serve fresh, or wrap to freeze. 

We have a picnic later today, so I made a bunch of rolls this time and will take some homemade peach jam along to enjoy with them!

*Note - this bread is especially delicious toasted for BLT's and other sandwiches.

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