Earlier this year I set myself a goal of perfecting two cooking ‘staples’ that I was leery of attempting: pie crusts and yeast bread. I’m still working on getting the pie crust just right but thanks to this recipe from The Kosher Foodies, I’ve got the yeast bread thing down.
Since making it the first time, I’ve shared this recipe with dozens of people looking for an easy bread recipe and they’ve all raved about how great it’s turned out. So do not fear amateur bread bakers – you can do it!
Amish Sandwich Bread
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
1/3 cup of honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup of vegetable oil (I use canola)
6 cups bread flour (I use 4 bread and 2 soft whole wheat)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve a teaspoon of the honey in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for five minutes. You should be able to smell the yeast as it blooms and it should rise to the top and get fluffy. If it doesn’t, your water wasn’t the right temperature or your yeast is old.
Put the dough hook on your mixer and start it on low. Add the salt, the oil and the rest of the honey. Add the flour, one cup at a time and knead the dough until smooth or about three minutes. You may want to boost the speed to medium towards the end but not before or you’ll wind up with flour all over your kitchen. Been there done that.
When you’ve got a nice elastic ball of dough, spray the biggest bowl you’ve got with some Pam and throw the ball in the bottom. Spray it a little more on top. Find a clean tea towel and dampen it with water and drape it over the bowl.
Turn your oven on just until the element gets red and then immediately turn it off. You now have a proofing box. Shove the covered bowl inside the oven and leave it there for about an hour or until the dough is doubled.
When you come back, you’ll have a monster hunk of dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface, punch it down (seriously, just throw your fist into it a bunch of times) and kneed it by hand for a couple of minutes.
Cut it into two pieces (using your handy dandy bench scraper), form it into a loaf and stick it into a greased and floured loaf pan. Set both pans (a few inches apart) on a cookie sheet, re-dampen your tea towel and put it on the cookie sheet next to your pans. It’ll provide moisture to your loaves while they proof a second time.
Turn your ‘proofing box’ on again just till the element turns red and then put the whole cookie sheet for another half hour. When you come back, your bread should look like this.
Remove the tea towel and bake for 30 minutes @350 degrees.
If you store the loaves in an airtight container, they last an amazing amount of time for something with no preservatives – sometimes up to a week. They also freeze well.
A few other tips & tricks:
- Use a digital meat thermometer to make sure your water is at 110 degrees.
- Get your yeast at Bulk Barn or another bulk store. It’s likely to be way cheaper than the packets or the jar.
- You can totally make bread without a stand mixer, you’ll just have to have stronger arms than I do.
- If you don’t have honey, sub for plain white sugar.
MMM, delivery system for butter….