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The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest ~ Sir Thomas Moore ~

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

My kitchen is a mystical place,
a kind of temple for me.
It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance,
where the sounds and odors
carry meaning
that transfers from the past
and bridges to the future
~Pearl Bailey~
***
Since it is -40C with the wind today, I thought it the perfect time to do a little baking & bread making. A nice warm kitchen to sit and look at the birds at the feeders, enjoy a coffee and browse through my favourite cookbooks.
2 large bookcases flank the large window in my kitchen and are filled with cookbooks and baking related items as well as nicknack's and family photos. It really is the ♥heart of the home♥ and a favourite spot.
Homemade soup for lunch is on the menu & baked ravioli for supper, so a few loaves of crusty bread are in order.
This is my favourite Country White Bread recipe and the one I use all the time. It's simple & makes 2 perfect loaves with a nice crunchy crust. I've copied the recipe as it is in my recipe book. Although I love the "hands on" approach, and always found it very therapeutic, these days, I let my standing mixer with dough hook attachment do the kneading (and work) for me.
Country White Bread
***
Yields 2 loaves
350 degree F oven 25-30 min
2 cups milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
4-5 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
Egg Wash - 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water
*We like a crunchy, dark crust and an egg wash of 1egg beaten and 1 tbsp water or a brush over the top of the loaves with melted butter will do the trick *
Directions
1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form. Remove 1/2 cup of milk to a small bowl and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. Stir into yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Let mixture stand until foamy approx 5 min.
2. Add butter to remaining milk in saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring to melt the butter.
Pour milk and butter mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F.
3. Add remaining 2 tbsp sugar, salt and yeast mixture, along with 3 cups of flour to milk mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir to blend completely. Add enough additional flour to make the dough manageable.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as required until smooth and elastic ~ approx 8-10 min.
5. Lightly oil a mixing bowl and place dough in oiled bowl, turning to bring the oil side up over the dough. Cover with a clean cloth and allow dough to rise in a warm spot - free from drafts- until doubled in size - approx 1 hr.
6. Grease two loaf pans.
7. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface and cut in half.
Fit dough into greased pan and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise until double in size - approx 35min.
8. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg with water to make an egg wash.
Brush loaves with wash and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
9. Remove loaves from oven & place on a wire rack - they should sound hollow when tapped on top.
Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.
10. Enjoy ♥
***
Bread deals with living things
with giving life
with growth
with the seed
the grain that nurtures.
It is not coincidence
that we say
bread is the staff
of life
~Lionel Poilane~

3 comments:

Monica@The White Bench said...

Mmmmm looks wonderful, Deb! -40????????? :(((( Gosh I picked daisies and primroses in the meadows this morning! Hope warmer weather is on its way to you!
Monica xoxo

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Wow, -40? I thought it was cold here!... That bread looks soo yummy, thanks for sharing the recipe!... My new pup Tess is having a doggie bloggie giveaway and would love to meet Ernie and enter him in the drawing!... xoxo Julie Marie

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yummm this bread looks so good. I have tried to get my DB to start making bread. He went to the store and bought the frozed loaves. Not exactly what I had in mind. tee hee Baking is a lot like chopping wood. It warms you twice. While you are making it and hot out of the oven.