Monday, February 22, 2010

Milk and Honey White Bread

Have you ever seen that wonderful fresh made bread and wanted to do it yourself? Now of days it almost sounds "old fashioned" to make your own bread, but let me tell you....Sara Lee has nothing on this recipe. I've tried a few recipes but Milk and Honey Bread remains my favorite. Try it for yourself and see why.

Ingredients: yields 2 loaves
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) of active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm milk ( must be 110-115 degrees or won't work)

1/3 cup honey

1/4 butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt

8- 8 1/2 cups all purpose flour ( I think I used about 7 1/ varies based on your preference)

Note: I usually heat my milk in the microwave one minute at a time and use a thermometer to test the temperature after each minute.

In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk. I used my mixer to save time.

Add the honey, salt, melted butter, and only 5 cups of flour. Mix. It will look lumpy like this.

When everything is well mixed, stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Grease a mixing bowl that is twice the size of your dough. Place dough in bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size...about 1 hour. I just drape a towel over it and set it on the counter in summer, in the winter I keep it in the oven ( the oven is off) and leave the door closed.

Punch dough down ( literally, just put your fist in the center of the dough) and if you aren't in a hurry, I let the dough sit 3-5 minutes after punching it...this makes it a lot fluffier and keeps all air bubbles out.

Divide dough in half and shape into loaves by rolling out a large oval, about 1/4 inch thick or less. Begin to roll the dough tightly together like you would a log cake.

Then, tuck the ends of the roll underneath. Place into two greased and floured loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 deg for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. A quick way to test if it's finished is to flip the loaf out of the pan and tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow then it's done. Wearing potholders, of course.

Let it cool completely before slicing or it will crumble. Enjoy it with butter, honey, apple butter or by itself. It makes a yummy grilled cheese sandwich and GREAT french toast.

Note: this dough is versatile, it doesn't have to be bread. It can be dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, etc. It also freezes well. Tonight I made half of the dough into a loaf and the other half I shaped into flat circles and lined a greased casserole dish. Remember to leave some gaps for the dough to expand and fill out the casserole's almost like a puff pastry.

After the rolls rose the second time I filled the pan with Spinach and Beef Casserole and baked it like I did the bread... 375 deg for 30 minutes.

So, this was our yummy supper...and we'll have some nice toast for breakfast!

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