Monday, October 11, 2010

It's the small things that make me happy!

It is funny how the smallest things make you happy! For as long as I can remember, every week or so I've made bread. My family loves it! They like to eat if fresh out of the oven. It is amazing how the smell of bread baking attracts everyone to the kitchen. I enjoy the process of making it. I don't know why but I find it so satisfying to grind the wheat and  mix up a batch of my favorite recipe. Sometimes I make plain old white bread and sometimes I make whole wheat or another whole grain bread. It doesn't seem to matter what kind I make the effect is the same. It makes me happy!

Lately though, I've noticed that the mixing and kneading are getting a little harder for me to do. So I decided that it was time to invest in some modern technology, a Kitchen Aid mixer. Oh my, I don't know how I ever lived without it. She won't hold the volume of the regular batch I make but by scaling the recipe down a bit she does a pretty good job. I guess I'll just have to make bread a little more often. My lovely new mixer has a permanet spot in my kitchen.

If you have never made bread, give it a try! Here is one of my favorite recipes. I give credit for the recipe to my friend Margorie Reay. She is a wonderful cook and makes this recipe to sell at our local farmer's market. It is very versatile as you will see.

The Best Bread

5 cups Flour             2 Eggs
1 cup Sugar              1 cup Oil
2 Tbsp Salt               5 cups Hot Tap Water
4 Tbsp Yeast             6 to 7 more cups Flour

Mix until bread is noce and satiny smooth, no lumps. Then start adding flour until the bread pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Put the bread into a large Tupperware bowl and let rise for about two hours. Make into 6 loaves of bread. Let rise for about two more hours. Bake at 305 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of pans right away and let cool. This mix will make 6 loves of bread, or 4 dozen buns or 4 (9x13inch) pans of cinnamon buns or 4 dozen butter horns.

Raisin Bread: Make the same bread and add 1 cup raisins and 2 tablespoons cinnamon at the beginning.

Whole Wheat Bread: Use whole wheat flour or half white flour and half whole wheat flour.

Mulit-Grain: Add a little multi-grain cereal to the bread dough at the beginning.

Cinnamon Bread: After the first rising, roll each loaf into a 9x14 inch rectangle and spread with melted butter and cover with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Roll like a jelly roll, put into a bread pan, let rise and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This make yummy toast.

Buns: Same recipe as above but make into 48 buns. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cinnamon Buns: Cut dough into halves and roll into a large rectangle. Cover with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll into a large jelly roll, cut into 1 inch thick slices and palce close together ina 9x13 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Sticky Buns: Make the same cinnamon buns as above, but make a sauce (2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/3 cups margarine, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, 1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon) for the bottom of the 9x13  inch pans. Heat sauce until it starts to boil, pour into two 9x13 inch pans and cover with pecans, then place cinnamon buns on top to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Hot Cross Buns: The same as raisin bread and make into buns, then ice with butter icing.

Butter Horns: Make the same as cinnamon buns with a little less butter and sugar, but place them on a sprayed cookie sheet to rise, so they don't  touch and bake them the same and ice them with butter icing flavored with almond and sprinkle with almonds.

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