Monday, January 23, 2012

Buttermilk Bread

Oh how quickly these winter weekends go by! Hanging out with friends, shopping at Ikea (Ikea! Finally!), hitting our favorite Mexican restaurant, and making a library run for my weekly load of books- this month it’s all gardening, all the time. Grocery shopping, too. I love the first few days of new groceries, when my possibilities seem endless, and the veggies are still fresh and green. I’m loving the purple grapes in the stores right now- although I did pick up another bag of Cuties. . .
But today, it’s time to focus on the work of the week, and I finally noticed that there is no bread in this house!
and so, without further ado- My favorite Buttermilk Bread recipe:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk 
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
This is a recipe from my favorite bread book “Bread Machine Magic” by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. I give this book to anyone who says they are getting a bread machine. ( I have found my extra copies at the used bookstore! They are worth their weight in gold. I always buy them when I find them, to give as gifts, too.) I also like the basic white bread recipe in James Beard’s “Beard on Bread” but that’s a post for another day.
So, you place all the wet stuff in the bread pan first, then place the dry on top, then you hit the start button, and go do something else for a few hours. I always make dough, then knead it a little, shape it then,  let it rise again for an hour (sometimes I can only give it a half an hour, but it’s good no matter how long it gets!) then pop it in the oven at 350* for 30 minutes. Then I usually decide I want a really crusty loaf, so I pop it back in for 15 more minutes. Generally, you lean it out of it’s pan and knock on the bottom of the loaf to check if it’s done- a nice firm crust with a hollow knock is perfect. Let it cool and then prepare to fight against the temptation to eat the entire loaf. No no- I am serious. Put the knife down and back away slowly, and you might make it out of there with just a quarter of the loaf, but don’t go thinking you can eat just a thin little slice and sneer at the rest of us. You are playing with fire here, missy. Oh, you think you can do it, eh? Well, you just go right ahead and make it then! Just remember, I warned you. Don’t come crying to me when you have nothing to show for that amazing smell wafting through your house but a plate of crumbs!
hey- you faeries get outta that bread tin! And what’s with the jelly smeared all over the counter. . .

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