Oh my gosh, I’ve missed blogging so much. It’s only been a few days and I’ve been thinking about it probably a lot more than I should admit. It actually might be a problem.
However, my last midterm–ever!??!–was today (it went fine, thanks for asking), I handed in part of a project that was due today, and with only a few more homework assignments due this week, I get to take all that other free time and try to fit in the gym, cooking, and blogging. I’m setting aside Friday to do something really exciting–make and mail baby shower invitations for my big sis Erin’s shower in December!
Erin and her hubs Bruce just found out they are having a baby girl, whom they’ve named Liana Claire. I. Am. So. Excited.
Anyway, back to blogging.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, since Fritz and I decided to become good students again and unplug our TV (not from movies, though. We aren’t crazy people). I grabbed a book on a last minute whim from the shelf in the library where they show off different sections of the library (the shelf where I’m never quite sure if I’m allowed to actually remove a book from their display). It’s called Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagner, and it’s a biography about a guy who grew up and eventually left his Old Order Amish community. Cool book–not the best writing but definitely a very interesting peek into the Amish lifestyle.
I had the urge to make some bread and I decided to stick with the theme. So glad I did.
Old Order Amish Bread (from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads) Makes two loaves.
- 5-6 C bread flour (I used all-purpose)
- 1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
- 1/3 C sugar
- 2 t salt
- 1 1/2 C hot water
- 1/3 C cooking oil (I used canola)
This bread is pretty easy to throw together (few ingredients), but it does require a lot of rising time, so be prepared. This is the main reason that I save bread making (which I love to do) for the weekends, when I am usually trapped at home studying anyway.
In the bowl of your mixer (oh, the irony of making Old Order Amish bread in my KitchenAid), combine two cups of flour and the remaining ingredients (yeast, hot water, sugar, salt, and oil). Mix until smooth, then slowly add the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is elastic but not sticky. I only needed five cups, and I switched to the dough hook halfway through. Knead with the dough hook for eight minutes–so happy I didn’t have to do that by hand–then cover the bowl with Saran wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about half an hour.
Punch down the dough and replace the plastic wrap–let the dough rise again, for about 45 minutes this time. At this point I was a little anxious, because my dough was definitely not rising as fast as usual, but I think the reason was just that the house was freezing cold. I refuse to turn on the heat and I love the smell of fall air, so I open all the windows all the time, much to Fritz’s chagrin.
This time, divide the dough into two, and form two oblong loaves. Place each into a greased loaf pan, cover with Saran wrap again, and allow to rise again (I know, seriously!? Totally worth it) for about 40 minutes, ’till they’ve reached the edges of the pan. Allow the oven to heat up to about 400 degrees for 20 minutes before baking.
Place the dough on the middle rack for 10 minutes at the high temperature, then reduce the heat to 350 and continue to bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the top is deeply browned and an inserted toothpick comes out dry.
Allow to cool before slicing.
This bread is so soft, super easy to slice, and has the perfect hint of sweetness. Fritz and I ate a whole loaf in about 30 hours.
Here’s how I ate it: toasted with butter, with peanut butter and banana, with toasted with butter and honey, with strawberry jam, and plain, untoasted slices. I also toasted two pieces and made an avocado, turkey, and provolone sandwich–so. good.
I wonder how different these loaves would taste if they were made with wooden spoons and baked the way Amish families do. Probably amazingly different, but I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of the rustic flavor for the ease of an electric mixer.
Also–sorry for the bad lighting in the majority of these pictures. With all the rising times, it got a bit late when the loaves were finished baking, and I didn’t feel like taking out the lightbox. After all, who needs a light box when you’ve got this guy?
Also, how adorable is Henry? He runs outside and looks out the window when he hears a car pull up, hoping that it is Fritz. Still not sure if Henry is 100% cat or partially dog (catdog…catdog!).
I can’t even handle the flattened ears. Jeez.