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"Pan di sudore, miglior sapore."Category: Food Porn   Jan 15th 2015  12:45PM   0

"Bread that comes out of sweat, tastes better." - Italian Proverb

 

I wish there were more time to indulge in baking. My 1970's Betty Crocker vintage cookbook - the bread chapter bookmarked - had been calling me for weeks. There I was at midnight, Jimi Hendrix on the stereo, covered in flour and kneading away.

The photo above is the result of my own two hands.

What is it about the joining of the humble ingredients flour, water, yeast & oil that creates something so magical & comforting? Perhaps its the hard work and patience that goes into creating the perfect loaf; activating the yeast, mixing it all together, the kneading, waiting for the dough to rise (several times if you are anything like me) before placing it in the oven. And oh, the scent wafting through my house! Waking up to that heady scent this morning sent the biggest smile dancing across my lips.

If only every morning were like this.

 

Basic White Bread - From Betty Crocker's Cookbook 1972 (with some of my own personal tweaks)

2 packs dry yeast
3/4 C. warm water (for the yeast)
2 3/4 C. warm water
1/4 C. sugar
1 tbs. salt
3 tbs. shortening
9 to 10 cups all - purpose flour (I used half unbleached flour and half whole wheat flour)

Dissolve yeast in 3/4 c. of warm water (I added half of the sugar to the yeast water to activate it. You get a fluffier bread). Stir in the water, remaining sugar, salt, shortening & gradually adding 5 cups of flour while beating until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour until you get an easy to handle dough; you probably won't use all 10 cups. 

Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour and punch it down. If you have time, let it rise a second time for an extra airy final product. Divide dough in half, forming 2 round and slightly flattened balls. Place balls on lightly floured baking sheet or stone. Brush with olive oil or melted butter and let the dough rise a final time. 

Heat oven to 425°. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on the lowest shelf. Finished loaves will sound hollow when tapped. Remove immediately and let cool on a rack.


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