When I first started making the bread recipe that came down from my grandmother, I made it true to the recipe. Back in the 1970s I had nothing to facilitate bread making but my two hands. I made bread that way for many long years, until I got my Kitchen Aid. I avoided getting a Kitchen Aid mixer for a long time, feeling I did not need it, but once I got one, it changed my life, and the way I made bread.
At the time I got the Kitchen Aid, I had reduced the size of the bread recipe to make only the 2 loaves that a bread making machine could handle. The bread machine was literally used to its death, and when the Kitchen Aid mixer came into my life, it was a love affair. I started making the whole bread recipe with the original ingredients, but some things just seemed to lend themselves to change. I switched from scalding milk to using just hot water and mixing powdered milk into the initial flour mixture. I changed using sugar to using honey. Then Bread Flours came on the market, with the higher gluten content and that was another change. There is little difference in the flavor of the outcome. This is my recipe.
My Kitchen Aid Mixer Bread
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup honey
2 cups bread flour
1 cup powdered milk
2 packets of Rapid Rise or Instant Yeast
1 1/2 cups cool water
6 cups additional bread flour, plus more for dusting
Place the first four ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid or other large, heavy duty mixer. Allow the butter to melt and the water to cool to lukewarm, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. (I usually start this before breakfast, then eat and get back to the bread once I am done eating.) In a small bowl combine the 2 cups of flour, powdered milk and yeast and stir to combine. When the mixture in the mixer bowl has cooled, add in the other 1 1/2 cups cool water and the flour, milk and yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook and set the mixer to the lowest setting to combine. Set the mixer to the next higher setting and add in the eggs, allowing them to be completely incorporated. Add in 5 cups of flour, one cup at a time, allowing most of one cup to be incorporated before adding the next. For the last cup of flour, watch carefully. If the dough begins to crawl up the dough hook, it has too much flour. If it puddles without shape, there is still too little. Depending on the type of flour and the ambient humidity, you may need more than 8 total cups of flour, or less.
Once the proper amount of flour is incorporated, allow the mixer to run, kneading the bread for another 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, stop the mixer, lower the bowl (or raise the top), remove the dough hook and allow the bread to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Once dough has risen, generously flour a work surface and turn out the bread. Fold it back and forth over on itself to expel large air pockets.
Grease or spray with cooking spray 4 medium loaf pans about 4 x 8 inches. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. With one portion, flatten it well with your hands, and begin tucking and rolling it into a log. The edges need to be tucked in and under to create an even log shape. Place in one of the prepared pans and repeat with the other 3 sections of dough. Set pans of dough aside to rise in a warm area for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pans in oven to bake for approximately 30 minutes, until nicely golden. Turn out of pans onto counter or racks to cool. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
When my children were younger, one loaf would be devoured before it had a chance to totally cool. Still, with three extra loaves, what to do? They freeze exceptionally well. When a loaf is needed, remove from freezer and allow it to thaw naturally. If you are in a hurry, one minute in the microwave will thaw it enough to be able to slice. Make this bread and enjoy it.
About The Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. Many people have asked what A Harmony of Flavors means. Have you ever had a meal where the visual presentation was stunning, the smells were incredible, the taste was so remarkable that you ate slowly savoring every bite, wishing the experience would never end? Then you have experienced what a truly harmonious meal can be like.
My passion is to teach people how to create a Harmony of Flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own.
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