challah before, hundreds and hundreds of times, but I've never baked an actual
loaf of bread that can be cut into slices and used for sandwiches. It's
something that I have been wanting to do for a while, and then I came across
this recipe for Simple One Hour Homemade Bread on Amanda's Cookin website, a
blog that has never posted a recipe that has failed me. So I went for it - I
mean, why not, you know? The recipe claims the whole thing from start to finish
takes one hour and that includes rising. And you know what, it did take just one
hour, and it was so easy that I actually made the dough after the kids
came home from school, something I would usually avoid at all costs. I try to
avoid doing anything at all once they are come home, so this was an adventure
for all of us, albeit a short lived one. And you wanna know why it was so short?
Because it took only 2 minutes to throw all the ingredients into the mixer, six
minutes to mix, less than a minute to divide and move the dough into pans and
cover them and the rest of that minute to walk back to the living room with the
kids and turn the TV on.
Amanda's recipe can be found here.
Here is my recipe, I played with it a little, not because I doubt Amanda,
but more because it was pouring out and very humid outside and I know from the
trial and error of making challah that a day like today needs less water. I also
used a little more sugar because I always find that challah dough recipes are
always slightly less sweet than I like so I assumed that the same rule would
apply to bread recipes. I guess this is all kind of how Amanda played around
with the original recipe that she started with. She calls her bread 'the midwest
version' based on where she lives. I guess this can be the northeast version.
Here's what I did:
5 and 3/4 cups of flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 ans 1/2 tsp salt
1 packet of rapid rise yeast*
1 and 1/2 tbsp oil
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
Pour all the ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the dough
hook, mix on low for 1 minute and then on medium for 5 minutes. At that point,
my dough was totally smooth and elastic. If yours is sticky, add a small amount
of flour, maybe a tablespoon, to the mixer and see what happens. I wouldn't add
more flour than that, but I would stop the mixer if the dough is very sticky and
knead it by hand (with floured hands on a slightly floured counter) for a few
minutes to see if that helps.
choice. I put one in a loaf pan because the idea of making a loaf of bread in
the shape of an actual loaf of bread was very appealing to me. Okay, I'll just
say it, I was giddy with anticipation. I couldn't find my second loaf pan so I
used a round one and made a circular loaf of bread.
Lay a towel over the pans for 25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees,
set the timer for 25 minutes and walk away. When the timer dings, put the pans
in the oven and reset the timer for 25 minutes. Walk away again. Come back when
the timer is done and the loaves are slightly light brown. The original recipe
said they would turn golden brown but mine never did and I didn't want to leave
them in the oven too much longer for fear they would dry out.
The bread cooled for a few minutes and the kids were so eager to taste it
that I cut into it. We tasted - and then we all spit it out at the same time. I
could not believe it. How could the bread be this bad? So as my mom would say,
back to the internet! And we took a look at not only Amanda's recipe but the
blog where the original recipe came from and one of my very observant boys
noticed that both of the other bakers spoke of eating their warm bread with
butter on it. One of them even had a video showing just that.
So back to the kitchen. One kid found the butter and the others crowded
around. We cut, we topped the slices with butter and man alive, it was awesome!
A few of the kids even danced. And Josh chose that exact moment to come home. We
shoved a piece of buttered bread at him and he actually tried it (trying a new
food is big for him) and you know what, he liked it! And the bread angels sang.
All six of us liking one food. Unheard of.
*The real recipe called for SAF instant yeast. I wasn't sure what that
was and it was pointed out that rapid rise was okay to use too, which worked out
well because that's what I had.