Friday, November 6, 2009

Shaker Daily Bread

I went hunting for some bread books from the library this week and came home with two. One had great pictures and a wide variety of world breads. The other one, from where I got this recipe, focused on breads found in the midwest. This one was made by "kitchen sisters" in a Shaker community in Ohio, who would make about about 60 loaves a day! My two was more than enough!!

What I liked most about this bread was that it had a really crispy crust, but unlike so many crispy crusted breads, this ones was very thin. It wasnt tough to bite through at all. It was a little "crumbly". As you can see in the slice in the top picture, the crumb gets looser at the top of the slice than it is at the bottom. That shouldnt be, but I have yet to figure that one out! All in all, a very good basic white bread and an easy to handle dough.
Shaker Daily Bread (from Prairie Home Breads)
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 90-100 degrees)
1 3/4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
5-5 1/2 cups flour
melted butter, for brushing
*Scald the milk (heat until small bubbles appear around the edges) and then add the butter and sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm (80-90 degrees)
*Meanwhile in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to proof at least 5 min.
*Add the milk mixture to to the yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon, or your mixer, if you have a dough hook, beat in 5 cups of flour, one cup at a time, until you have a smooth dough, adding more flour if needed.
*Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 min until smooth and elastic.
*Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and brush top with melted butter. Cover and allow to rise until double, roughly 1 1/2 hrs.
*Gently punch the dough down and transfer to a floured surface. Cut in half and form into two loaves. Place in two greased loaf pans and brush with melted butter. Cover and allow to rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hrs.
*Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 min.
Oops, see the loaf to the right. For some reason it didnt rise as well as the other one. Oh well, I did two loaves because I wanted to let one of them "stale" a bit to try making a Charlotte. Guess I know wich loaf I will be using! And hey, even bad homemade bread is still good!

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