Faith, food, Uncategorized

Homemade Amish Bread

I don’t know why, but something about homemade bread just makes me feel extremely domestic.  Basically like an actual pioneer woman braving the cold and walking for miles to the town mill with my grains in a sack over my shoulder.

Anyway, I posted a picture of a freshly baked batch of our favorite amish bread that we make every week and got lots of requests for the recipe.

I’ve learned that bread making is an art, and takes practice to perfect and get your own methods and system down.  But this is the perfect starter recipe and such a versatile bread that basically everyone will love.

So many life lessons in bread making.  How a little bit of yeast distributed throughout a large amount of flour can make the whole thing rise up and fulfill its true potential to be amazing and beautiful and enriching to the lives of those who consume it.  Just like a little bit of Jesus and prayer distributed throughout our lives can do all those things and so much more.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Matthew 13:33

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One of my resolutions for 2018 is to worry less and pray more [Matthew 6:34] because….kids!…..and because just like a little bit of prayer generally leaves me feeling uplifted, a little bit of worry can have me down in the dumps in no time.  And building our house this past year was the most stressful event of my adult life, so I’m ready to kick worry and stress (as much as possible) to the curb this year!

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What do you do when you walk in the kitchen to find your daughter playing in your once perfectly risen ball of dough?

Take a picture! But really…try not to lose your cool and remember that tiny people are magical and just love to explore.  I love to have my kids help me in the kitchen and always have.  Even so, I’m definitely a little OCD about it.  Hovering as they measure or pour making sure they don’t spill anything or stir at 49753 mph sending bits of whatever flying evvverywhere.

Which points to yet another really good and relevant life lesson in bread making: patience.  I mean, there’s really no short cut to the process.  From start to finish there are going to be times when things come together quickly and visible change can be seen like adding in flour or rolling loaves, and a lot of times when the only thing you can do is wait and trust the process even though you can’t see any noticeable change from moment to moment, like proofing.  And then times when your water is too warm and you kill the yeast, or forget to set a timer and burn all 4 loaves….after spending allllll morning making bread!

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My kids love fresh bread, right out the oven smeared with grass fed, unpasteurized butter.  The. Best.  No matter what they’re doing they always come running when I holler that the bread’s done.  And I always tease them a little about whether or not they helped enough to have a piece, or if I should keep it all to myself like the Little Red Hen.  To which they protest with eyes wide “I helped!”  “I get the biggest piece!” and then starts battle Royale over who actually gets “the biggest piece.”  So precious, little people are.  Which is especially easy to write right now since it’s almost 7am and all of mine are still sleeping, it’s going to be a good day!

Total Time: 3 hours          Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water 110F
  • 1 cup whole milk 110F
  • 2/3 cup honey or sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I always use pink Himalayan)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 5-6 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  • If your oven has a “proof” setting, turn it on.  If not, set your oven at 105F.
  • warm water and milk to no higher than 110F, any higher will kill the yeast
  • dissolve honey in water & milk mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer
  • whisk in the yeast
  • set aside for 10 minutes or until the top looks foamy
  • whisk in oil and salt
  • turn the mixer on to low with the dough hook attachment, and begin adding flour, one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the bowl
  • continue kneading for about 5 minutes
  • oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, then place into the oven on proof or at 105F for an hour, or until it has doubled in bulk
  • Punch down the dough, then knead for a few minutes and divide the dough in half using a sharp knife.
  • Form each half into a ball, cover with towel and let rest for five minutes
  • Shape each ball into a loaf and place into 9×5 greased pans
  • Brush the tops of each loaf with melted butter and let rise  for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen an inch or so above the pans
  • Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when the bottoms are tapped
  • Cover the loaves with a clean tea towel to cool for a while, and then serve or store
Notes: I usually double this recipe to make four loaves every Monday.  This stays good and lasts us all week and I have a whole loaf left to make French toast casserole each Sunday.  Bread can be wrapped and frozen as soon as it’s cooled.

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