Today, having found a rare four-hour break during which I am not pressed to do anything else, I am baking bread.
The recipe that I'm using is adapted from one that was given to us by our church as a part of a project to bake bread for guests to one of our services. I think that it's a fairly basic bread recipe; everything is pretty standard and there are no tricks. The recipe makes eight small loaves which, for the two of us, are a better size than a big loaf and allow us to freeze more and make it last longer.
Baking bread is one of those wonderful experiences that results in maximum satisfaction for a minimum of complexity. When I bake bread, I feel peaceful and quiet. The process is fast becoming one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon in the kitchen!
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. yeast
Dissolve the yeast and the honey in the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
3 1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 tsp. salt
9 1/2 - 10 1/2 c. all purpose flour
Measure second amount of warm water into a large mixing bowl; add honey, oil and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir.
Add sufficient flour to make a soft, workable dough. Turn dough out on a floured surface. Knead 10 - 15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise 50 minutes or until doubled. Punch down and shape into 8 round balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Form into loaves and place in greased 5 3/4" x 3 1/4" x 2" loaf pans. Brush tops with oil. Cover and let rise for 50-55 minutes.
Bake in 375F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.