Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Amish White Bread
Amish White Bread is an easy bread recipe to mix in your bread machine and finish by forming the loaves and baking in the oven. It is the best bread for sandwiches and toast.
My yeast has expired but I keep it in my freezer so it will be good for a long time but just in case I "proof" it first before I mix all the ingredients. I start by putting 2 cups of warm water (110 degrees) in the bread machine pan, add 2/3 cups of sugar and stir until sugar is just about dissolved. I then sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of my active dry yeast on top of the mixture. After 5 or so minutes the yeast will begin bubbling and will be creamy looking if it is alive. I am good to go.
I then added 1/4 cup of oil and 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of flour and started my machines dough cycle to begin mixing.
I then added 4 more cups of flour one at a time. If you like you can give your machine a little assist with a rubber spatula to scrape the flour from the sides but it is not necessary The moving dough ball will eventually grab it all.
When the dough begins to pull away from the sides sometimes I will begin timing (according to how long the recipe says to knead) sometimes I just wait for the machine to stop.
Today I let the machine knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It looks smooth and round at this point.
Turn out the dough on a floured surface. This dough is a little softer than some recipes so make sure you have a good dusting of flour. I didn't have enough here and had to peel the dough off the table to add more.
Shape your dough back into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning your dough ball so it gets a light coating of the oil all over.
Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draft free area. Sometimes I use saran wrap or wax paper sprayed with a cooking spray but today I used a warm damp dish towel.
Let the dough rise until double in bulk. My kitchen is a little cool today so it took about an hour.
Punch the dough down. This is the fun part!
Turn out on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes and shape into a ball. I have no assistant today to so I had to use one of my hands to take this picture.
Cut the dough in half. I don't have a fancy dough cutter so I just use whatever knife I grab from the kitchen drawer.
Since one side of the dough looks much bigger than the other I got out my kitchen scale to weigh them to get them as even as possible. One side was about 5 ounces more than the other so I fixed that by pinching off dough from the larger and kneading it into the smaller.
Shape both pieces back into a ball and let them rest for 5 minutes or so. This allows the dough to relax a bit to make them easier to shape. If my kitchen were real warm I would cover them with a damp towel.
While the dough is resting, I greased 2 loaf pans. I believe they are 5 x 9 inches.
After the dough has rested; I shaped the loaves by pressing the dough out with my hands using a pan for a guide. You want it about the length of the pan and a little bit wider.
Beginning with the long side roll the dough up tightly. Use both hands. I had to use one hand to take a picture. Where's grandson when you need him?
Pinch the dough to form a seam and tuck the ends under.
Place seam side down in pan.
Repeat shaping for remaining dough, place both pans in a draft free area and cover with a clean damp cloth. Again you can use wax paper or plastic saran wrap sprayed with a cooking spray.
Let the dough in the pans rise until they are about one inch over the edge of the pans. Normally this takes about 30 to 40 minutes for this second rising but again I'm dealing with a cold kitchen so it took a little over an hour.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. You can check for doneness by removing a loaf from the pan and thumping the bottom. If it sounds hollow it is done. If it doesn't sound hollow, place the loaf back in the pan and bake for another 5 minutes. When done remove from pans and place on cooling racks.
If you want a soft top bread for sandwiches; brush the top with melted butter
and cover with a clean dry cloth. Let cool completely before slicing.
You can use a bread knife with a serrated edge for slicing. I happen to have a bread slicing guide that I like to use with my electric knife.
From a 5 x 9 loaf I get 17 perfect slices for sandwiches or toast.
To store in the freezer. Make sure bread has completely cooled and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
and again with aluminum foil.
Frozen bread should be used within 4 months.