I work a funky evening shift on Tuesdays, so I spend the morning with the kids and head to work by noon. I’ve learned that the morning can slip by very easily and it’s hard to feel like anything has been accomplished by noon. So now Tuesday is bread day, and I can get two loaves done before heading out the door and feel pretty good about myself!
I’ve got this down to a science now, it’s pretty foolproof, so set a timer and amaze yourself. The cold oven start seems a bit odd, but it works and saves time! For some reason, people are always amazed that my kid can eat bread, even with her allergies to dairy and eggs. I always use kind words to explain that homemade bread is typically free of eggs and dairy, but just once I’d like to say “Oh, I’m sorry, that must mean your kid gets sad grocery store bread with tons of preservatives and junk instead of Real Lovin’ Bread!” Enjoy!
Real Lovin’ Bread (2 loaves)
6 cups bread flour (I love King Arthur, it makes me feel like a cool East Coast baker)
1 heaping Tablespoon instant yeast ( or 2 packages)
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup potato flakes
3 cups warm water
2 T. oil (optional, it helps the bread stay soft a bit longer, I forget it quite often!)
1.) Mix everything in a stand mixer and knead until soft and smooth (about 5-8 minutes). The dough should be slightly tacky and hold its shape, but not a gloppy mess. If it’s too wet, add more flour until it feels right. This recipe intentionally has a touch too much water, I’ve found it’s easier to add flour to overly wet dough than it is to add water to an overly dry dough. Anticipate adding another 1/4 cup of flour to get a soft but not sloppy dough.
2.) Cover mixing bowl with a towel and let raise at room temp until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
3.) Scoop the dough out onto a table, divide into two and shape into 2 nice tight loaves. Place in oiled loaf pans and cover with a towel, let raise until the ends of the bread have risen to the lip of the bread pan (about 1 hour)
4.) Place in a cold oven. Set the oven to 365 and bake for 30-40 min
utes. Tent loosely with foil if they are browning too quickly. Test for doneness with a thermometer, it should read 185-200 degrees. Cool on racks a bit before cutting.
Typical Schedule8:00 Put stuff in mixer, knead, drink coffee, feed kids8:30-10:00 Covered in bowl for First Rise10-10:15 Shape into loaves10:15-11:15 Covered in pans for Second Rise11:15-Noon Cold Oven Start BakingNoon:Mission Accomplished, head out the door with my stethoscope, coffee and a slice of hot bread!