First of all I have to share with all of my out-of-state readers that here in Missouri it was 66 degrees this morning at 5:00 a.m. It is supposed to reach 70 degrees by this afternoon. That is very warm for this time of year. But we'll take it. Every single second of it, even though the wind is about to blow us away!! If it makes you feel any better it's going to be in the 40's by Thanksgiving Day. Winter is headed our way.
And on a cold winter day nothing is better than a big ol' slice of homemade bread with butter. But for all my trying, I have never had good luck making homemade bread or rolls. My mom even bought me a bread machine several years ago (thanks mom) but I have to admit that the bread I have made in it never got past being "O.K." I've tried countless bread recipes. I've mixed, I've kneaded, but none of these ever resulted in a loaf of bread I was proud of . . . until now.
Some time ago I was checking out my friend Julie Harward's blog "The Harwards" and came across an older post entitled "Easiest and Best Bread Ever." Well, coming from a lady who does as much cooking as Julie, I knew it had to be good. So last night I made Julie's recipe. I should say I made HALF of Julie's recipe as her recipe makes 4 loaves of bread and I thought 2 loaves of bread would be plenty for us. I can tell you that I wish I'd made the entire recipe . . . but, I'm getting ahead of myself!
Here are the ingredients:
2 1/2 cups hot water
1 T salt
1/3 c honey
1/3 c oil
2 T yeast (room temperature)
1 egg (room temperature)
6 cups bread flour
See, you have all of that on hand don't you?? I won't go into the step-by-step as Julie did it much better than I ever could. If you are interested in step-by-step instructions, then please check out Julie's post at http://circlecliffviews.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html. She has an awesome post showing bread making from start to finish with lots of pictures, and she gives details on making wheat bread as well.
All I did is put the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Once everything was completely mixed, which took just a minute, I put it on speed "2" and let it "knead" for 10 minutes. Honestly the dough looked fairly moist after 10 minutes, and I almost took it out and added some flour and kneaded it a little. Then I reminded myself of all my past failures at bread making and decided to STICK TO THE RECIPE OF A MORE EXPERIENCED COOK. So I did what Julie did, I poured oil on my counter, dumped the dough out and just rolled it in the oil a little bit to coat it. I divided it into two halves and roughly shaped each half into a loaf shape and put it into a Pam-sprayed loaf pan and covered it with a clean towel. I let the bread raise about 45 minutes, then baked it at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Ladies, this is the best homemade bread I have ever made, and ranks right up there with some of the best homemade bread I've ever EATEN. AND IT WAS SO EASY. No sore arms from kneading. No letting the dough raise two times. I think from start to finish this took just over an hour and a half. I could do that after getting home from work (hey, we eat late). We ate one loaf last night for supper and I have another loaf just waiting for us to devour, I mean eat, tonight. My husband and kids LOVED it and agreed that it was the best bread I have ever made!! They wanted to slice the second loaf but I wouldn't let them. I wanted homemade bread tonight too!
So please, if you love homemade bread like I love homemade bread give this recipe a whirl. And check out Julie's blog, "The Harwards". You will love reading about her life in Utah and all her beautiful children and grandchildren. She is always sharing stores and recipes that I know will bless you like they have blessed me. So THANK YOU JULIE for sharing your Easiest and Best Bread Ever recipe. I'll be thinking of you tonight as we enjoy another loaf of your delicious homemade bread.