Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baking Bread

      I love making bread!  The whole process gives me pleasure--especially the baking.  Can you think of anything that smells better when walking into a house than freshly baking bread?  It just says "welcome" and "come sit a spell so we can enjoy this wonderful treat together."
      I have been making bread since I was in high school (maybe even junior high) when my mom taught me how to mix the ingredients and knead them together.  Country Guy says one reason he married me was for my Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls.  :o)  If you've never made them, let me help you out.
      Let's start with my basic dinner roll recipe.
                  Dinner Rolls
                    2 pkgs. yeast
                    1/4 c. warm water
                    2 c. warm milk
                    2 eggs
                    1/2 c. or more sugar
                    3 t. salt
                    1/4 to 1/3 c. shortening (I use oil, or butter)
                    6 + cups flour (I like unbleached, or bread flour)
       Combine 2 pkgs dry yeast (or 4 1/2 t. if you buy yeast in bulk at Sam's like I do) with 1/4 c. warm water and set aside.
       Heat 2 c. milk till very warm (my original recipe calls for milk but most of the time now I just use 2 c. warm water because it's quicker.  When I do that I combine the 1/4 c water with the 2 cups and add the yeast to all of it in a large bowl.)
      Add the sugar and salt to the yeast and water (or milk, if you prefer.)   Beat the eggs till well mixed and add them.  Then add 3 c. flour and stir till well blended.  Add the oil.  Mix until well incorporated. Then add more flour a cup at a time till a heavy dough has formed. (I think the trick here is to not add all the flour but just enough so that the dough doesn't run all over the counter when you pour it out onto it.)
      Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead till the dough is no longer sticky, adding flour as you knead.  (Kneading seems to intimidate many, so I am inserting this video I found on YouTube if you need help.  Mom & I think she needs to add more flour to the surface, but otherwise she does a great job demonstrating what kneading bread looks like.)

    After kneading return the dough to a well-greased bowl.  Turn it over to grease the top and let rise till double--approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down, turn over and let rise again till double--about 45 minutes more.

     You can now use the dough in a variety of ways--dinner rolls, cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls or split the dough and make a combination.  Shape into whatever recipe you choose and let rise one more time--about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes if baking dinner rolls to longer for all the other choices.
     For Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls, roll the dough out into a flat rectangle (You may want to divide the dough in half and roll one section at a time--maybe even do as I do and make 1/2 peanut butter and 1/2 plain cinnamon rolls.)  When the dough is rolled into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, spread it with peanut butter and then cover with a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  (I use about 1 c. sugar mixed with 1 to 2 T cinnamon--I love cinnamon!)   Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.  Place these on a greased jelly roll pan.  Let rise for 45 minutes and then bake till brown. ( Approx. 15 minutes.)
      Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes and frost with a powdered sugar frosting to which a few Tablespoons of peanut butter have been added.

     The extra time it takes to make bread is amply rewarded by the sighs of contentment of those you love as they finish a big plate of cinnamon rolls!  Try it and see.


Anonymous said...


Bill Yount said...

Your blog is wonderful. I have learned things already from it. I hope you take this comment the right way. I believe you are a spiritual Martha Stewart. You are sharing such a well balanced life that will influence many. And people will just naturally like you and fall in love with who you are through your blog.
Your pictures are like you can walk into them. They are so life like. I believe you will bring people back to the garden of Eden.
I posted Elevate 2011 on my website.
Thank you again for your hospitality and yes, my wife needs to come out there with me.
Blessings, Bill Yount

Country Girl said...

Thank you so much, Bill, for your encouragement. I am enjoying blogging.
Blessings on you and your ministry,