These six 'babies' made our house smell better today than............. ANYthing else could have!
The 'slashes' on the top keep the loaves from getting any 'stretch marks/tears' at the top of the pan during the baking process.
This bread is so-o-o-o-o-o soft...
And,...........has a great texture...
From way back in the mid-50's when my brother and I sometimes spent time with our sister and her hubby, I remembered her 'so good' bread! After I married in the early 60's, I asked her for the recipe and she gave it to me. I have kept all the ratios in her recipe the same, but use honey instead of sugar, butter instead of lard (only because I don't know where to get PURE lard without rendering it out myself), and I often use a mix of white flour/wheat flour.
Use basic bread making techniques to make this bread.
YIELD: 6 large loaves (9x5" pans, greased well). Because my daughter does this, I put one piece of parchment paper (cut to the size of the pan bottom) into the greased pan and then I grease the paper, also. That way, there will NOT be any surprises with loaves wanting to 'hang around in their pan' longer than I want them to.
- 4 cup scalded milk, cooled to only 'warm'. Heat milk over med. heat just until you see little bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, like this....
If you add the next four ingredients to the hot milk, it helps to cool it down to 'warm'. Add in the order listed...
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 8 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups water (cool water if you need to cool the milk, warm water if milk is already cooled to 'warm'
- 1/2 cup honey
In a medium bowl, gently whisk the following together and let it sit just until yeast activates and bubbles up. The sugar is used to speed up the process.
- 2cups warm water (water should not be hot).
- 4 tablespoons instant dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- When the yeast has 'bubbled up', add it to the milk mixture and gently whisk together. You are ready to start adding the flour.
- 6 leveled cups of 100% whole wheat flour.
- Now, I add white BREAD flour-- at first, I add about 13 leveled cups of this. Then, ... I keep adding bread flour slowly as I begin kneading-- I 'add' only until the dough is 'knead'able. In all, this amounts to me adding just over 14.5 cups OR just UNDER 3 and 1/2 cups of what is in a 5# bag of bread flour. For some reason, it is not always the same amount.*
After raising for about 60-70 minutes in the oven with only the oven light turned on, it looked to be 'doubled' like this...
- When the dough doubled, I 'punched it down' and let it rest for thirty minutes.
- I removed dough from bowl, divided it into six dough balls and let them rest for ten minutes.
- One by one, I rolled the dough balls into a small rectangle with a rolling pin. Then, starting at one end, I rolled it up, pinching and sealing ends/edges as I went along.
- Place 'dough log' into greased pan. With 'greased hands', I greased tops of the little 'bread logs', too.
- Put in warm place to raise in pan. I often set the pans of dough in the oven with just the oven light on.
- When I see the bread is about 1" above the edges of the pans, I carefully remove pans from oven where they were raising and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- **While the oven is pre-heating, I ever so carefully 'slash' the tops of the bread. This is done so that, during the baking process, the loaves do not 'stretch' in the area just above the pans-- according to bread bakers a whole lot smarter than I am, this 'slashing' lets steam out the top and gives 'stretching room'-- I like it! (See my note at the bottom.)**
- After baking at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, I turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees and let them bake for another 20-25 minutes OR until done. To test for doneness, you can knock for a 'hollow sound'; judge by the color AND 'knocking'; or use an instant read thermometer like I do (I like 'done' to be an internal temperature of 190-195 degrees).
- Remove from oven, tip loaves out to cool on a wire rack. Set upright. Butter tops. Cool, slice and enjoy.
** Slashing the tops: I had tried to do this in the past. Unsuccessfully, I might add! Each time, the knife would cause the bread dough to 'fall' a bit. Oh, nuts! That was before I found this website where it told me the knife had to be super sharp (that I already knew) and that it helps to have oil on the blade (something I did NOT know). http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1680
Now, I sharpen my long carver's knife and coat it with oil-- ah, MAGIC!!!! In the picture below you can see what I use-- this professional grade sharpener from my daughter's husband and the long super-sharp knife--
A proper kind of "slash, slash" = NO FALLING dough!!!! And, because I 'slashed', I have no 'stretch marks' showing up on any area of the baked loaf. I DO LIKE THAT!!!