|photographs courtesy of Shannon|
She passed it along to my best friend and my best friend once removed (her husband) and then I got it from my BFF because my mom was busy at work when I finally was ready to try making it. So anyways, by the time I got the technique down (after a few hands on trainings with mom and several calls in the middle of it) and could really make her bread well, she passed away. It is as if the bread tradition had to get passed down before she could go. I now have the privilege of passing it along to my children and sister-in-laws for them to make and taste something my mom made. It brings us closer to her even though she is gone. I love how a simple bread recipe can help bond us to our kindred dead. This is one of those flecks of brilliancy in life I have been noticing and want to point out and share with the world.
Something about this bread is that it is not something you make to be all healthy and stuff. This is the comfort food type of bread that tastes FABULOUS once cool enough to touch, but still warm enough to melt the butter right into it the second it touches it.
Best when sliced in big hunky pieces and once it is a couple days old--you'll get the best french toast you ever tasted out of your baking efforts as well.
|the best french toast EVER|
6 c. water
(hot, not boiling)
(or 7 1/2 tsp.) yeast
8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2 c. milk
approx. 15-18 c. flour
I use half whole wheat/half unbleached white flour, but if you want to get all uber authentic about the recipe, use straight up bleached, all-purpose white flour!
Mix water, yeast, salt, and sugar with a whisk in large bowl.
Set aside until frothy on top (approximately 10-15 minutes)
While waiting for yeast mixture to froth, melt butter and milk together in a small pot until butter is completely melted, then turn heat off.
Gently pour milk/butter into yeast mixture when ready.
Next, slowly add flour.
Knead* until doughy (approx. 10 minutes)
Lightly coat clean, large bowl (or two if you don't own very large bowls) with cooking spray or oil and place dough in coated bowl.
Cover with a towel until dough is doubled in size (30-45 minutes).
Separate and divide into pans.
Cover with towel and let rise again.
Once dough has risen to desired size, bake at 370 degrees F for approximately 35 minutes.
Tops of bread will be dark, golden brown when done. (as seen in photos)
Makes 3-5 loaves, depending on size.
and don't be surprised if they don't last long.
*I do it by hand as did my mom and probably her mom before her.
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