The weather was too beautiful to do regular school today. I have been wanting to introduce Lulu to yeast bread making, and we decided today was the perfect day for this. We started early this morning. This easy bread recipe is successful every time, smells delicious while it is baking, and is easy to knead and form.
The first step is heating the buttermilk and butter just to the point where the butter is starting to melt, but not hot. That way you don’t have to cool it before using it in your bread. (If you do get it too hot, just set it aside to cool to lukewarm.)
Next, mix water and yeast in the bowl of your mixer. After watching that your yeast has started to work (it starts melting out of its little balls and forming a brownish scum in the water,) put in dry ingredients. Pour milk and butter mixture on top of the flour, and begin mixing with the dough hook of your mixer or with a spoon.
A smooth dough should begin to form. Slowly add about one-half cup more flour to make a stiffer dough before turning it out onto the counter to knead.
Flour the counter well, especially if this is your first experience with yeast dough. Kneading is basically four movements stretch, fold, press and turn. Grab your ball of dough at the side farthest from your body, stretch it out and fold it over onto itself and press down hard and away from your body. Give the dough a half turn, and repeat. As you gain experience your hands will become less sticky because you know how to touch the dough lightly but firmly. Try to use mainly your fingers instead of your whole hand.
When the dough forms a nice ball but is not too stiff, put it in a greased bowl to rise.
After about one hour, the dough should be kneaded again, divided in half and formed into loaves. These loaves can be baked on a greased cookie sheet, but I love this kind of bread for loaf pans.
Allow to rise another 30-45 minutes, until the loaves are approximately doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake about 30 minutes. Try to restrain yourself from eating it until it cools enough to cut nicely! We went on a nature walk, and then had our bread with honey for lunch!
Buttermilk Sandwich Bread
Makes 2 loaves (try not to eat them all at one sitting)
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
In a small saucepan, heat buttermilk and butter over low heat just until butter begins to melt. In a large mixing bowl, proof yeast in lukewarm water. Add dry ingredients, then pour buttermilk mixture into the mixing bowl. Stir with a large spoon or the dough hook of your mixer until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1 cup of flour to make the dough. Knead until smooth, then allow to rise in a greased bowl for 1 hour. Form into loaves, and place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise again for 30 to 45 minutes. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pans, cool on cooling rack until ready to eat.
Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful spring day. There’s nothing a little homemade bread won’t make better. As Max says, “It smells like heaven!” Eden was glad to know that heaven smelled like our house!