CHEW THIS! Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

Grandma Barbra and Blaise.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 17th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade Bread Memories…
Blaise Doubman

I have fond memories of my Grandma Barbra and I making homemade white bread in her kitchen on cold winter days with her giant white electronic bread maker. I remember thinking it was the coolest machine at the time and often wondered how it worked as it did. I think we only made white bread and never did expand into other kinds but that white bread was some of the best of my life. We would get the machine greased and ready, measure and pour everything in and prepare for the baking. It took hours, because the bread would be mixed, then it would rest, mixed again, rest, mixed again, baked and then finally cooled. Our first several loaves were always lopsided, but it did not matter. It was delicious! We did finally figure out how to maintain the shape of the loaf and then there was no stopping us! Ha! I still remember removing the bread from its container and placing it on a plate. We would try and slice the bread but would usually end up just breaking it up into chunks with our hands, buttering each piece with lots and lots of butter and eating it while still extremely hot. I have so many wonderful memories with my Grandma Barbra and I love her so much. She has taught me so much about life, in the kitchen and out of. I joke with her that I am writing a memoir of our crazy times together and that I am going to title it, “NUTS”. She always laughs at this.

When developing this recipe, I wanted to try and steer away from a bread machine, simply because a lot of people do not have them anymore. I think somewhere in the early 2000’s bread became “unfashionable” and people stopped eating, and making, bread as much. Therefore, almost eliminating bread machines completely. I am not a follower of diets, fad or otherwise, and I love bread! Of course, I limit myself, everything in moderation including moderation, but I love a slice of warm white bread with tons of butter on top. My friend, Cindy Shelton, also loves hot bread and butter. Maybe I will make her a loaf of this bread soon. If you know someone who loves bread, take a little time and make them a loaf of this bread! It makes 2 loaves so one for you and one for a friend! This also makes the perfect gift.

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

I always use active dry yeast, not the refrigerated yeast packets that you can find at most grocery stores. I find the active dry yeast to be better, and fresher believe it or not, than the refrigerated version. I also use Kosher salt for this recipe, as well as all my other ones. I highly recommend investing in a large box of Kosher salt for your cooking and baking needs. The flakes of salt are larger, therefore you can use less salt in your finished dishes.

2 cups warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 package
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
5 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by combining the warm water with the active dry yeast in a large bowl. The water needs to be warm to the touch but not hot. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. However, if the water is too cold, the yeast will not bloom. I use the hottest tap water I have and then let it cool down for about 2 minutes. Add in the melted butter, white granulated sugar and salt. Stir.

Add in 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well. Add in another 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well, using clean dry hands if needed.

Take the dough and place onto a clean, dry, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 20 minutes, adding in the remaining cup of white all-purpose flour.

The dough should not be dry at this stage but instead a slightly sticky and thick dough.

Place the dough into a buttered bowl and cover the top with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rest and rise for 1 hour without disturbing it.

After 1 hour, remove the dough and knead for another 5 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover the top with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place and let rice for 1 hour without disturbing it. In the meantime, spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Be sure to grease the loaf pans generously.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide the dough in half. Shape each half into loaf shapes and place each into their prepared pans. Cover the tops of both with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rise 1 hour without disturbing it.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the loaves, in preheated oven, for 35 minutes. Remove, cool, unmold, slice and serve.

Ask and Answer: People have been wondering if you can substitute unsweetened chocolate for bittersweet chocolate in recipes. The answer is, no! Unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar whatsoever, whereas, bittersweet contains anywhere from 10-50% sugar. If using unsweetened chocolate in recipes you will more than likely need to add sugar for sweetness. If using bittersweet chocolate, very little sugar may be asked for. They are not interchangeable.

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