Bread is easier than most people think, especially if you have a stand mixer that can do your kneading for you. It just takes a day when you’re going to be home because you have to let it rise, then punch it down, and let it rise again, then bake it. The actual active time in doing these steps is probably a collective 10 minutes, but they must be done at the right times. This bread is good for sandwiches and toast, and hubs likes it slathered with lots of butter.
- 1/4 warm water
- 1 package yeast
- pinch sugar
Combine these into your mixing bowl. Let stand while you complete the next step.
- 1 C milk
- 1 T butter
Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the milk and remove from the heat. Add to the yeast mixture. Don’t let the milk get too hot. You should be able to put your finger in it without getting burned (sounds like a risky test, doesn’t it?). If it’s too hot, let it cool before adding it to the yeast. Remember, hot milk kills yeast. Dead yeast equals no rising.
- 1.5 t salt
- 1 T sugar
- 1.5 C all purpose flour
- 1.5 C whole wheat flour
You’re actually supposed to mix the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet ingredients, but even though I’ll take the time to make bread from scratch, somehow I can’t find the time to wash two bowls. So I just mix in the salt and sugar first. I use a stand mixer, starting out with the paddle attachment. After the salt and sugar, I add the all purpose flour and let it mix well until it looks like Elmer’s Glue. Then, I switch to the dough hook, and add the whole wheat flour while the machine is running. It might take a bit less flour, or a bit more. Start with less. When it pulls away from the sides into one big lump, you’ve put in enough flour. Then, leave it to knead at a medium speed for about 10-15 minutes. At the end of kneading, the dough should be springy and elastic. This is a gross analogy, but it should be like gum you’ve been chewing for a while.
Rub a little bit of oil all over the dough lump to keep it from sticking to the bowl, cover it (I like to use a flour sack towel), and leave it to rise until doubled (about an hour). After it’s risen, punch it down and put it in a loaf pan. Leave it to rise a second time, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Be careful, because sometimes kids don’t like the crust and they put their dirty hands right in the middle.