Bread Making Accomplished

Reader Contribution by Tricia Millix
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I have longed for years to master the art of making bread. Like gardening it has eluded me for quite some time. I have tried numerous times to no avail. It has always seemed to make me so nervous, how to get the yeast to “bloom,” what is luke-warm water anyways, how and for how long to knead the dough, has it really doubled in size??? The questions would send my nerves into a tizzy and that is why I think I just couldn’t do it – or so I thought! I have found a recipe that has given me the courage to try again, and at last SUCCESS!

I followed the direction to a tee, using exact measurements and preciously timing my every move. I watched in amazement as my dough rose perfectly, filling the pans that held it. When the final timer signaled that the bread had completed its baking time, I cautiously opened the oven door and what to my wondering eyes should appear but two loves of perfect bread. Had I really accomplished this feat, had “I” really conquered this thing they call bread making? Indeed I had.

I had to make sure that this was not just a fluke thing, that I could actually do it again. So began the process and timing again, and the end result matched my previous success, and I have to say it was the best bread I have tasted.

I think the reason it was so tasty is because I had finally made bread that both my parents are masters at making. My mother can whip up loaves of bread without a recipe, only by look and feel. She has spent many, many nights trying to teach me. The bread was okay, but nothing like hers. I can vividly remember my father mixing up bread in a huge yellow earthenware bowl that had a blue stripe around it with the biggest wooden spoon I have ever seen. He always made the process look effortless, which it is not, it takes some strength to stir that last cup of flour in and then the kneading process is a whole new set of muscles. The smell would reach us kids all the way out in the fields and it always stopped us in our tracks. We knew what was in store for dinner and we could not wait.

So on this journey I have begun, I can now cross Bread Making off of the list. I am by no means a master, but I can most certainly put a warm loaf of bread on our dinner table. I will share the recipe because it is just too good to keep to myself!

Sixty Minute Bread

2 cups of luke-warm water
4 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 – 51/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place water, sugar and yeast together in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir oil and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour by 1/2 cup full until the dough forms a ball. Turn out on a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. (I actually do this in my stand mixer.) Divide the dough in half and place into greased loaf pans, set aside to rise for 30-40 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool, and then ENJOY!!

I hope everyone who tries this recipe has the same success I have had, because there is nothing like a piece of homemade bread.

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