Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fresh Bread made easy

Snowy and cold out today...Brr...
An excellent day to make some chili and bake fresh bread. Fresh bread is so easy to make - and I have a recipe that I don't even knead. I let it rise on top of the oven while the oven is pre-heating, then I pop it in the oven. I bake it in 2 small metal coffee cans, so when I am ready to cut into it, the bread has ridges to follow... it can't get any more eay than that.
I have the recipe in my new recipe book that I am currently writing. Here is a preview:
EASY CHILI $1.12 plate
2 # hamburger
tomato sauce or 2 cans paste:

Choice of spices: chili powder, red pepper, salt, black pepper etc.

Brown the hamburger and pour off the grease. Add 2 cans of light red kidney beans and a large can of tomato sauce or 2 cans of tomato paste with 2 cups of water. You can put this in a crock pot to heat, or heat it until bubbly on the stove.
To make this cheaper, add left-over pinto beans, and cut down on the burger. You can use chili beans, northern beans, sausage –the flavors will all mix together. That is the beauty of chili.

Beginners Easy Bread $.25 a loaf
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour (you will probably use less)
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tbls. (or 2 packages) yeast - You can measure a tablespoon in your hand
2 1/4 cups hot tap water
2 tbls sugar
1 tbls. Salt
Combine 2 cups flour, un-dissolved yeast, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir well to blend. Add butter and hot water. (To soften butter, I put it in the hot tap water)
Beat with a mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally. Add 1 more cup of flour. Beat on high for 1 minute until smooth and elastic. Gradually stir in just enough of the remaining flour with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough which leaves the sides of bowl. Using my mixer, I mix until it leaves the sides of the bowl.
Flour your hands and Knead 5 - 10 minutes (I usually don't do it this long and I do it in the mixing bowl. ) until dough is smooth and elastic and doesn't stick all over your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for 20 minutes. (I only do this if I have the 20 minutes to wait)
Punch down and divide the loaf into 2 loaves if you want 2 loaves. I use a glass 2 qt. casserole dish and bake my bread in this. Otherwise, divide into 2 loaves. Roll it out with a rolling pin, then starting with the narrow end, roll up into a jelly roll and tuck in the ends. Put this into a greased bread pan (measuring 81/2 x 41/2 x21/2).

(I skip this next part): Brush lightly with butter Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate 2 - 24 hours. When ready to bake, Uncover, let stand for 10 minutes while preheating oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you rap your knuckles on the top.
If you want the bread NOW! Skip the refrigerator step. Just let the dough rise, for a few minutes and pop it into the oven.
When the bread comes out of the oven and cools for a few minutes, butter the top. This keeps the crust soft. If you want a crunchy top, don't add butter.

If you are interested in my frugal recipe book ( I also have a High Lonesome Ranch cook book with recipes handed down to me) let me know!

Until then, enjoy baking bread at home!

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