2019 is all about the word ‘calm’ for me. My mental health needs calm more than it needs almost anything else these days; so, instead of an personal resolution, I’m just doing that trendy ‘word’ thing. (I have career resolutions, yes. That’s a little different though, and for different reasons.) I’m not very good at sticking to, or hell, even caring about the whole resolution thing–but, this year, I feel like I need a specific word to meditate on throughout it all.
Where am I going with this? Oh, yeah. I’m trying to relate it to, and bring it back around to this, to my blog. I think throughout the year I would really like to write a bit more about the things that bring me back to a calm place, even when my life feels anything BUT calm. (Writing, freely, is fun for me. I look forward to it. So, it falls in line with my whole 2019, calm, thingy too.)
Anyway, I’m not trying to do a recipe blog, or a kids craft blog, or a nature blog, or a strictly photo blog. I just want a blog that falls in line with who I am, in general, and who I keep working, so hard, to be more like. (Think mellow Mel, not mad Mel.) I want my blog to feel like an online version of hygge. (What the hell is a hygge, you ask? It’s awesome, and you already know exactly what it is. Click here to get an official ‘definition’ though.)
So, today, I’m going to share a recipe. (Man, I ramble a lot. ALL of that above just to share a recipe…sheesh) I promise that any recipes I share will always be simple. (No. You will not need gluten free flours, and special nut butters, and weird powders, and stuff. I bake how Grandma baked–with the regular stuff.) I also promise to not bury the recipe at the bottom of 20 photos of the final product, each shot from a slightly different angle. (Sorry. Personal pet peeve of mine.) Baking brings me calm though, and it makes me feel whole. (Especially when paired with good music and a beer/glass of wine. Baking is even more therapeutic then. 🙂 ) So, here and there, this blog is gettin’ recipe’d.
Today’s recipe is a toasting bread. It’s the simplest bread recipe I’ve ever made, and I can’t get enough of it. It came from a woman in a cooking group I belong to on Facebook, and she got it from a cookbook in the early 90’s. I took it, and made it–and, I will make more tomorrow; and, I will probably make more the next day to go in the freezer. You do need a Kitchen Aid mixer for this one–though, I’m sure if you don’t have one, you could hand knead for about the same amount of time and still get a wonderful result. (I have a couple other, easy, bread recipes that don’t need the mixer. I’ll share them later.)
What you will need for two loaves of toasting bread:
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of water
5-6 cups of flour
2 packages of active, dry, yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
cornmeal (I had none–so, I skipped it.)
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 200 while you’re prepping your loaves. (I made this part up. But, here, in the MN winter–we have no warm place to let the bread rise. This works perfectly.) Turn off the oven once it is preheated, just keep the door closed.
Combine your milk, and water, in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until it is very warm. (120-130 degrees.)
Place four cups of flour, the yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in your mixing bowl. Attach the bowl, and dough hook. Turn to Speed 2, and mix one minute. Gradually, add warm liquids to the flour mix. Take about 30 seconds to do this. Keep mixing for one minute longer.
Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. (I add the full two other cups.) Keep going on Speed 2 for 3-5 minutes longer. The dough will be very sticky.
Spread your dough into two, 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inch loaf pans that have been greased, and sprinkled with cornmeal. (Like I mentioned, I didn’t have cornmeal. I greased, and sprinkled them with flour, instead.)
Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft, for 45 minutes. (For me, it was my warm oven. After the 45 minutes, if your bread is rising in the oven, remove it, and preheat the oven to 400.)
Uncover, bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
You can eat this bread fresh, and warm–or, you can slice it, and toast it for days. All of the little holes soak in your butter, or jam beautifully. The crust crisps up so nicely, while the middle stays chewy, and soft. It’s such a wonderful combination.