What better way to return from a break than with a bread recipe?
Well... that is exactly what this is all about. Because nothing makes me feel more at home than making bread while cleaning the house and rocking out to some good LOUD music.
Today's recipe is from a fantastic book that I picked up called Baking in America. It is an interesting collection of American home-cookin' recipes... hit and miss recipes... like most cookbooks ;)
*This recipe is somewhat of an all-day affair. Though you start it and leave it for a while, just to give a heads up!
2 cups warm buttermilk (about 110 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm water (same temp)
2 1/2 tsp yeast (or one package)
3 cups flour- I used just all-purpose unbleached flour
-in a large bowl, mix together all of these well (best if you add them in the order the ingredients appear)
-cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave set at room temperature for 90mins or up to 2 hours. You could also start this at night and set it in the fridge over-night. Just make sure it is covered... If you choose to keep it cooled in the fridge, allow it to slowly come back to room temperature before completing the process. The mixture will most likely have doubled and will be bubbly.
In a stand mixer, add:
4 cups flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (or 1/4 cup sugar)
4 TB melted, but not HOT butter
-mix these into the dough using the dough hook (or mix by hand- might want to only do 3 cups of flour and then add the rest in via kneading) and mix on low for a few minutes
-turn up mixer to medium and "knead" for 5 minutes-ish. or you can knead it by hand on a lightly floured surface
Place the ball of dough into a large, greased bowl and allow to rise for about 90 minutes (or more than doubled in volume)
Separate into two halfs and form into loaf-shape
Place into lightly greased bread pans (larger ones work better, because this dough rises again fairly well... I found this out the hard way) and allow to proof for another hour.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Pretty easy- and turned out really well for me. Despite my dough spilling over my fun cast-iron bread pans... Oh well. Now to make some grilled-cheese sandwiches with this bread for dinner! Sigh- nothing better than a clean house that smells like fresh bread.