Let’s Cook: An Easy Way to Make Homemade Bread
I enjoy receiving feedback from readers. Recently, several younger readers have requested a column on easy bread making. These young readers mentioned that they were not lucky enough to have grown up in the kitchen where the air was weekly, or at least from time to time, filled with the smell of bread baking. They do make bread from time to time with a bread machine, but they would like the joy of making bread from scratch.
There’s nothing like fresh bread from the oven waiting for the chance to mingle with fresh butter. It is one of life’s sweet rewards, not only for tasters, but the bakers as well. The method of bread making that I am explaining today was added to my collection of recipes when I took Independent Living, taught at the Underwood High School by Faye Miller. We first made freezer jams, and then we tried several ways of making bread. This method I found to be easy and successful.
It is called “The Miracle Method,” and it was presented by Occident/King Midas kitchens. It’s an easy way to make breads with all the old-fashioned goodness. Plus, it is just about as easy as turning on your cell phone!
Here are the helpers that you will need to be present at your bread baking party.
“Miracle Riser” is a foamy mixture of yeast, water, a little flour, sugar and salt that starts the bread-making actions and develops the flavor of real old-fashioned bread.
The “Roll and Fold” method replaces kneading, saves time, and gives bread fine grain and even texture.
Just one rising, and this is done in the pan. A 10-minute rest period lets the dough (gluten) relax so it will be easy to roll out and shape into loaves or braided bread.
This recipe is for egg bread and will be done by using the methods listed above. Eggs add richness, moistness and golden color to bread. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for 40 minutes. This recipe will make two loaves.
First we create our
Miracle Riser. Combine in large mixing bowl:
2 packets active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Beat until smooth. Cover; let stand in
warm place 15 minutes.
To Miracle Riser add
1 cup of warm milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons shortening
Beat this for 2 minutes with mixer. Gradually add an additional 3 1/2 cups of flour to make
dough very stiff. Form into smooth ball on a well-floured surface. Cover with bowl on surface and let rest for 10 minutes. If it is difficult to stir in all the flour, work the remaining flour into dough when shaping into a smooth ball. Finished ball should have a smooth satin finish at this point.
Second, roll out dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness; fold in half. Roll and fold 4 more times. Divide dough in half. Mold into balls. Cover with bowl again and let rest for 10 minutes.
Next, divide each ball into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into 14-inch strips. Braid 3 strips together. Place on greased cookie sheets. Take one egg and separate it. Add 1 tablespoon water to egg yolk and to egg white and brush one braid with the yolk mixture and the other with the egg white mixture; then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Cover; let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Additional tips for getting the right start include the following:
Yeast: The temperature for softening dry yeast should be 105 degrees to 115 degrees F. I always use a thermometer.
Rising temperature andtime: Temperature determines the length of time needed for doughs to rise. An 85-degree and 90-degree range works well. Cooler temps will result in a longer rising time.
Warm rising places: In front of a sunny window, near a steady flow of heat, under a lamp that has a large wattage bulb, on a warm range top.
Cover bread dough loosely with a soft damp cloth, plastic wrap or a dry towel. Uncovered dough will crust and not rise well. Remember when covering, always cover loosely allowing space for dough to rise.
When rolling out bread dough, lift it up and reflour the surface and turn dough over to prevent excessive sticking.
For a soft shiny crust, skip the egg yolk or egg white wash and brush warm braid bread with soft butter or shortening.
Select a bread bowl, a large deep cobalt color. If making a double batch, let it take residence in a classic blue and white spattered enamel bowl. Now that is living!
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