There’s nothing like the aroma of bread baking. The smell wafts into every nook and corner, rendering anyone helpless to resist the fragrance of comfort.
Breadmaking used to be a weekly ritual when the kids were little. Anticipation was high, waiting for the golden loaves to be taken out of the oven so that buttered slices could be devoured. But the kids especially enjoyed helping make cinnamon rolls. Each would take his or her turn with the rolling pin and work the dough untill it was a large, flattened circle. Next, they would help me spread the butter, then sprinkle on the brown sugar and lastly, top it all off with cinnamon. I would then roll the dough and slice it, placing each pinwheel-shaped roll onto the pan.
We all enjoyed breadmaking day, especially me. Being one who likes to feel the dough in my hands, there was satisfaction in kneading it and feeling the changes as the dough transformed from a sticky mass to an elastic, smooth ball.
I miss those breadmaking days. Now, life is too busy for me to dedicate the time breadmaking demands. But recently, thanks to my medical leave, I was able to make bread again and, oh, how fun and wonderful it was!
Whether you have a bread machine or, like me, prefer to make it by hand, this simple recipe will work well.
- 4 cups white flour
- 4 cups wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbs Active Dry yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Mix white and wheat flour with salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Combine hot water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and let sit until very foamy and bubbly
Stir olive oil into liquid and then add flour. Mix with a sturdy spoon until well-combined and you can easily pick up the dough. Place dough on a floured surface. At this point, I divide the dough equally into two balls. This makes it much easier to knead. Have some flour on hand to add to the dough, if too sticky. Begin kneading and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. It shouldn’t stick to your hands, but it should be easy to manipulate, not stiff and dry. If too stiff, add a little bit of water in small increments. Once dough is smooth and elastic, place in a bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled in size.
Once doubled, remove dough from bowl and knead, once more, on a lightly floured surface.
Usually, I knead each for about five minutes; you want the elastic, smooth consistency. At this point, you are ready to form into loaves.
Place in oiled bread pans and let rise until doubled. The dough should rise above the bread pan edges, but not be spilling over. While rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once risen, carefully slide bread into preheated oven and bake until golden brown, which is about 45 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack, then slice, spread a little butter on it and you’ll never want to buy store-bought bread ever again.! Enjoy!