YaY! It’s bread day!

The best part about bread day is that the recipe I use makes two loaves, and bread is for share, my friend, bread is for share. Evie shared her recipe with me, one that came from here, and now I share it with you. It is downright delicious. Loaf number two today will go to the household of either Skipper Jane and Gabs or Jaquelyn and Daniel, depending on who needs bread. Woot!

Ok, so the recipe! I tweaked it a little from the original to suit the palate of the Moskowitz household, and here’s what I came up with. Also, I’m putting in some odds and ends about baking, so if you’re new to this (I totally was) you won’t freak out while baking (I totally did).

Amish White Bread – makes two loaves

Equipment: two large bowls, a tea towel you don’t mind getting wet (and that won’t bleed color), two loaf pans.

2c hot water
1/2c sugar
1 1/2Tbsp yeast
1/3c oil, plus some for greasing
2tsp kosher salt
6c bread flour*

1. Proof the yeast: In the first big bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water. You want the water to be hot when you start, because it will cool a little bit while you dissolve the sugar, and yeast needs a warm place to feed and multiply – starting with hot water will guarantee that the mix stays warm all the way through the proofing. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the yeast. Ignore it for 30 minutes, and you will come back to a delightful smelling pillow on top of the sugar water – that means your yeast is happy – it’s having a party!

2. Stir in the oil and salt to your yeast party. Add flour one cup at a time. The first two cups will take longer to incorporate than the last four. The last two you may need to add while you’re kneading the dough out in order to get them in there. Also, my mother-in-law, the lovely Mrs. Moskowitz, explained to me that you don’t have to cram all the flour in – if it won’t go, it won’t go, and you can fudge a bit on it if you have to. Also, she informed me, local weather will affect this process (as well as your rise) – humidity and how warm your kitchen is will bear on how much flour will be absorbed. So don’t panic. Knead your bread for five, seven minutes until it’s smoothish. It will feel good – enjoy the journey!

3. First rise: Pour a touch of oil into the second big bowl, and spread it out. Put your dough in there, then turn it over so it has oil all over it. Drench you tea towel in hot water, wring it so it’s damp and still hot, and drape that over the bowl. Go run laundry or errands, or play on line for 90 minutes. When you come back, you will be astounded!

4. Second rise: grease the loaf pans with a little oil and set aside. preheat the oven to 350. Your dough should be a big and puffy and sticking up from the bowl now, because your yeast has continued to party while you were away. Punch the dough down (you’ll hear the air escape – too cool), take it out of the bowl, and knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. Cut the dough in half, knead each half a little longer, and place into your loaf pans. Place the loaf pans on top of your preheating oven, cover with the hot damp tea towel again, and go do something else for about 30 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 for roughly 30 minutes. It’ll be done when the crust is a golden brown, and when knocking on it with a wooden spoon produces a hollow sound. I like to take mine right out of the loaf pans and cool it on a rack, but you don’t have – it may make the crust a little more crispy if you keep it in the pan longer.

This bread keeps nicely –  if stored in a ziploc bag it should stay soft and chewy for about ten days. But it usually doesn’t last ten days around here, what with school lunches and soup night; I’m usually making bread every five days. Enjoy ♥

*I suppose you could use all-purpose flour, but I haven’t tried that yet. I really like how our loaves come out with the bread flour, tho’.