I stumbled on this when I was reading the Farmers' Wives' cookbook I got at one of the used book sales last year. The book was not very big, the type was small, but I figured midwestern farm wives probably knew something about making bread, and maybe I'd learn something, and for $1, how could I therefore not buy it? (Of course, I also had to buy the pastry book to the left of it, which is why I've stumbled into the world of pie crust)
Anyway, my friend Gaylen has been trying to make her own bread, with mixed results. Pam in Oregon and The Blond Duck have also asked me about making bread, but remain yeast-phobic. Suffering a couple of phobias that rational people don't share myself, when I found this, I thought of these three lovely people. And once I'd tried it, I concluded that others of you out there might like this nearly effortless bread making method, too.
The premise of this bread is that it can be mixed up quickly, whenever time permits, put in the pans, and left in the refrigerator to rise for 2 to 24 hours. Once you see how easy this is, you'll be eager to try this or one of the other recipes I'll be reviewing this week!
COOL RISE WHITE BREAD
4 cups flour
2 tbsp (or 2 packets) yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup soft margarine
1-1/2 cups very warm water (110-120F)
Pour the water into either a bowl or your bread machine container; sprinkle the yeast over it. Add the flour, sugar and salt, followed by the margarine, cut into small chunks. Turn the bread machine on to knead for 10 minutes, or mix the ingredients together with either a Kitchenaid or hand mixer at low speed. With the stand mixer, let it knead the bread at low speed for 10 minutes; if using a hand mixer, after it starts to protest, dump the dough on a floured surface, and knead by hand, pushing the dough backward with the heel of your hand, folding the back over to the front with your fingertips, and turning it 90 degrees, then repeating the process, until the dough is smooth, 5 minutes or so. Regardless of the mixing process, let the dough sit for 10 minutes after the kneading is complete.
Divide the dough in half, form into loaves, and place in a well greased 8-/12"x4-1/2" loaf pan. Brush the surface of the bread dough with salad oil, and brush 2 pieces of waxed paper with salad oil. Put the waxed paper loosely over the dough, cover the entire pan loosely with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.
When you're ready to bake the bread, remove the loaf pans from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and waxed paper, and place the loaves on top of the stove while the oven heats to 375F for glass pans or 400F for metal pans. After 10 minutes, puncture any large, visible surface bubbles, then put the loaves in the oven for about 25 to 28 minutes.
When the bread is done, run a flat bladed spatula or knife around the inside of the pans to loosen the bread, if necessary, and remove from the pan at once. Cool somewhat on a rack, or in a bread basket lined with a napkin, for a few minutes, until the bread is firm enough to slice neatly.
These directions look cumbersome, but, honestly, you'll have the bread in the refrigerator to rise in about 20 minutes. It really can be done the night before, or in the morning (by you morning people out there), and ready to bake for dinner. There's no mystery to this bread!
There was barely enough of this bread left for the boys to have sandwiches for lunch the next day. Need I say more about its flavor?