Freakin’ Sweet Amish Bread
I (J) have tried several bread recipes for good old, stand-by sandwich loaf bread; a utilitarian necessity, and something that I enjoy immensely. Having learned a lot from each recipe, I now know some things that will work and a few things that won’t. Most of all (most importantly, actually), I’ve learned what I like in the finished product.
Sandwich bread should be (to me at least) slightly sweet, but not a sweet bread; complimentary to whatever you’re putting on it without being overpowering, but still have it’s own stand-alone flavor; dense, but not heavy; airy with moist “give”, but not weak.
Like I said, I’ve tried a few and made a few more or less our staple of weekly fare. Actually, we’ve gotten into a bit of a rut with Nigella Lawson’s (How to be a Domestic Goddess) Essential White Bread. Don’t get me wrong, I love it (that’s how we got in the rut), so instead of allowing myself to take something that I enjoy from my mental queue, we sought something new.
Actually, we stubbled across something new at the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Just about anything good, wholesome, Earthy and simple in Pennsylvania has been labeled “Amish”. Wanting good and wholesome whilst fitting in with our new surroundings, we chose to find an “Amish” recipe.
I don’t know if ours is anything like an actual Amish recipe, and, truth be told, I’ve never had any of their bread, but we did find the following recipe on the internet, and it’s now pretty much my favorite bread. It’s also beau coup forgiving (and I’ll give you a ‘for instance’ at the end).
This is from All Recipes, and was submitted by Peg.
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
So, I was saying that this recipe is forgiving… and it’s true:
I (J) made bread by this recipe the other day, and didn’t dissolve the sugar with the yeast in the mixing bowl, I put it in a white cereal bowl. When I added the yeast and water to the dry stuff, I didn’t notice that the sugar remained in the cereal bowl. I proceeded to mix, knead, and start to proof the dough. I didn’t realize what I’d done (or hadn’t done) until I was cleaning up. We needed bread, and I didn’t have enough flour (or patience) to make another dough. With nothing really to lose, I pulled the cover off of the rising dough, and added the syrupy sugar. When the dough was done with its first rise, it was sticky as heck, but I formed it into the loaf pans and tossed it in the oven. Long story short: it worked, and tasted pretty good!
Also, we freeze one loaf and eat another loaf. It keeps really well, and still tastes awesome, so give it a shot. If you’re looking for something homey and fresh, give this a shot… I think you’ll like it.