Tuesday, January 20, 2009

B is for Bread

Back when I was a young mother with small children I stayed home with them all day. And I knit. But I also baked all our bread. Since I was still a bit of a hippy then, I put all sorts of things in the bread, sprouts, wheat germ, oatmeal, to get the children to eat something that was good for them. I also put that stuff in the cookies, but that's for another story. I learned from a book, no internet then. And I found that kneading the dough and watching it rise and serving it to my family was soul satisfying, something like knitting. Now the children are grown and I go to work and we have a bread machine and I don't bake bread so much anymore. But it snowed a couple of Saturdays ago and I though bread would warm our house and my soul and I made the easiest bread, Italian. The smell of the yeast and kneading the dough and watching it rise then punching it down were so rewarding. And the bread was delicious.







My recipe, such as it is.
Mix one packet of dry yeast in one cup of very warm water with one teaspoon sugar and one teaspoon salt. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and add about two cups of flour (the whole loaf takes about four to six cups of flour depending on the humidity) and mix in the water mixture. Stir and stir and stir adding more flour until you just can't stir it anymore. Dump it out on a well floured surface and knead and knead and knead for about ten minutes adding more flour until the dough is smooth and shiny and not a bit sticky. Put it in an oiled bowl and let it rise in a warm spot for an hour all covered up with a damp towel. Punch it down, that's fun, and roll it out into a rectangle sort of shape and roll it up pinching the ends closed. Make a few slices in the top to allow for expansion and let it rise (covered) again for another hour. Bake at 400 degrees F for about twenty minutes. It will sound hollow when you tap it. It's good warm with real butter. Better with home made soup.

11 comments:

pdxknitterati said...

Mmmmm, homemade bread. I haven't done that in a long time, but yours sounds simple enough that I should.

Stacie said...

Makes me want to bake too--my kitchen was co-opted by teenagers for several years and I really didn't want to add to the baked goods available to munch on. But baking bread, ahhhh. So satisfying, and such great tasting results. I'm going to try your recipe.

Iron Needles said...

I love baking bread. Can't remember the last time. Momma used to bake all the time. Thanks for the memories.

PrincessPea said...

It's funny, we have a bread machine that we use a lot. But when one of us makes bread 'properly', it really does seem more ... human somehow. Thanks for the recipe!

Marie said...

I love to bake bread. I made some challah on Monday for our breakfast all week long.
I used to own a bread machine, but finally gave it away to Goodwill since it did nothing but collect dust.
BTW - The simplest bread recipes, like yours, are the best.

amanda said...

There's a reall bread thing happening in blog land lately. I really should get back into it - thanks for the recipe!

Kristen said...

That sounds so wonderful. I might just have to try out making some bread! My mouth is watering from the thought of such a lovely smell filling the house!

Kim said...

There is nothing in the world quite like homemade bread. The feel of it in your hands while kneading, the smell of it baking, the beauty of its perfectly browned top, the taste and texture of it... mmmmmmm. It's all perfect.

RedScot said...

Lovely! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Kathy said...

That looks really, really yummy. Baking sounds good, but to do that I would need to clean the kitchen first... hard call to make.

maryeb said...

I love baking bread too. I haven't made any in quite a while, but it is a very satisfying activity. I especially like the punching down and kneading part.