One of my all time favorite smells is fresh baked bread! I don’t even care what kind, it instantly lifts my mood. I can almost taste that first slice after its cooled just enough you won’t burn your fingers, butter melting, mouth drooling…Oh My Gosh! It’s the absolute best!
Scared to bake or even enter your kitchen? Have no fear! Baking is a science. For real, it is a formula that when followed, produces an amazing solution…carbs! Today I’m gonna share a couple of my favorite recipes for bread. The first one is a simple Amish Sweet Bread that is just perfect for toasting. Let’s be honest, both of these will be perfect for toasting. My other go to is a Honey Whole Wheat that always reminds me of my mother. Maybe it’s the fact she was part of the reason I love to cook or the fact that she was always making sure my brother and I ate nutritional food (that’s right, no white bread in her house growing up).
Amish Sweet Bread
Makes 2 loafs
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups of all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of warm water. It is important that the water is warm but not too hot as it will kill of the yeast and your bread will not rise. If it is easier, you can use a candy thermometer to aim for about 110 degrees. Add the sugar and let it dissolve. Once it is dissolved, add your yeast. Give it a quick stir and then let it set for about 10 minutes (Go switch laundry or check your Facebook). When time is up, it will look frothy. Congrats! Your yeast is activated and ready to be made delicious! Mix in the oil and salt into your liquid. Now if you have a mixer go ahead and pop that bowl in position with the beater. It’s not needed but does help. Start adding flour one cup at a time. When your mixture begins to get thicker, switch to your dough hook. The dough will form a ball. At this point, feel free to take the dough and place it on a lightly floured counter and kneed for 5 minutes. If the dough starts feeling sticky, sprinkle more flour over the top.
Once your dough is all set, spray a large bowl with non stick cooking oil and place your dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about an 1 hour or doubled in size. Our kitchen can be chilly at times so it may take a little longer.
After the dough has doubled, punch done and pull the dough from the sides. Using your hands or a dough cutter, split the dough into equal parts and place them in a greased loaf pan. You will want to shape them into the size of your pans. Let them rise, covered, for an additional 30 minutes or until double in size.
Place pans in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Not every oven or pan cooks the same. Make adjustments based on your equipment, as in some may need to bake a little longer or shorter. It’s worth the wait! Let loaves cool on a cooling rack till they are easy to release from the pans. Now is the time, if your fingers can handle it…go ahead, give into temptation! You have earned that first slice of buttery, warm, soft, delectable bread!
One of the reasons I chose these two recipes is because how simple and similar they are. When it comes to baking, as long as you keep to the recipes formula you can substitute like ingredients. For example, don’t have honey, use sugar. You can use butter instead of oil, or vice versa. Want a healthier option, use a different flour. Keep the amounts the same and tweak your recipe to your liking. Now you will find that with different ingredients that the loaf may not be like the original. Don’t be concerned! Using a substitute can have a different reaction as far as the density or flavor. If you like it, roll with it! Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment!
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- 1 pkg dry active yeast
- 1 1/4 cup very warm water divided
- 1/4 cup + 1 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 tsp salt
- 3-3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Combine the yeast, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 tsp of the honey to a small bowl. This is where we let the yeast activate and come alive. Remember to go check your laundry or your Facebook. When you come back in about 10 minutes your yeast should be frothy and ready to go.
Now get your mixer bowl ready and add the rest of the ingredients (remaining water, remaining honey, butter, salt, and flour). This is where you will add the yeast mixture. With your dough hook attachment, begin combining your dough. You will want to mix or kneed for about 5 minutes. Your dough will be sticky but still workable. If it is just too sticky add a little bit of flour until it is manageable.
Cover your bowl with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm place for 1 hour, or double in size.
When the dough looks ready, punch down and pull the edges in working the dough into a loaf that will fit your greased pan. When greasing your pan you have an option of using your trusty ol Pam spray or you can use shortening or even oil or butter. Once you bake a few times you will find the right grease that works well with your pans. Now cover your pan with your damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for additional 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, brush the top of your loaf with some butter. Now its time! You are able to pull out that beautiful loaf of bread and admire your talented self! Pretty awesome, huh? You only have to wait 10-15 minutes before you are able to slice into that deliciousness. Slice, butter, and admire your skill!