Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laura Potter's Bread

Back when I was an intern, I would listen to podcasts from a local radio show. I don't remember what it was even called, but I do know that a lot of the show revolved around cooking. One lady in particular, I'm assuming her name is Laura Potter based on the name of the bread, peaked my interest. She talked about homemade bread, and how a good friend of hers came to her home one day to show her just how easy it was to make homemade bread.

Easy homemade bread? She had me. It probably helped that she was describing the sweet smell of bread cooking in her oven, and biting into that warm, tender bread. I rushed home that very day to make it.

This bread is everything you imagine in homemade bread. I made it with all white flour, and it reminded me of the kind of bread that was considered a treat when topped with some butter and homemade jam. It was light, fluffy, chewy, and delicious.

For some reason, I let this recipe fade away into my binder full of tried and true recipes. I'm not sure what it was that made me turn back to it today, but I'm so glad that I did! Try it out, and enjoy!

Laura Potter's Bread
Makes 2 loaves (adapted from a recipe that made 5 loaves)

2 cups hot water (out of the tap)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1/5 cup Powdered milk
2 1/3 cups flour (any combination of white and wheat - if mixing flours, start with white)
2 1/2 tsp saf-instant yeast
3 cups flour (any combination of white and wheat - if mixing flours, start with white)

Combine ingredients in the order listed above in a stand-mixer bowl fitted with dough hook, saving the last 3 cups of flour to add later. After adding the yeast, turn mixer on and let ingredients combine slowly. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, until the dough starts pulling off of the sides of the mixer. Turn mixer to high and knead for 8 minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Once dough has risen, divide the dough into 2 even balls. Place on a floured surface and with your fingers, lightly press each ball into a rectangular shape about the length of a bread pan. Roll into loaves and place them seam side down in pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Place pans in oven and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Then raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. Then remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Time flies!

Has it really been over a month since I posted? I've been baking and taking pictures, I just haven't done anything else! Here's a quick run down of the things I've made:

Mint Chocolate cookies. I was on a bit of a mint kick, and had some Andes Mints chips in the cupboard. I decided to use an old chocolate chip cookie recipe, and just made a few substitutions. I cut the flour amount by a half cup and added in a half cup of cocoa powder, and instead of vanilla extract, I used pure mint extract. I loved them! But then again, I love anything with mint...

In honor of Pi day (3/14 - yes, my husband is to blame for this one), I made a fresh strawberry pie. I used Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust, and it was perfect for this pie (and now I have 2 more crusts in the freezer, just ready to use). I had a box of Danish Dessert in my cupboard, and decided to try it for the first time. It was great for the purpose I needed it for. This is kind of embarrassing, but my husband and I devoured this pie in 2 days.

And last, but not least, I made some shamrock cookies for everybody's favorite green holiday. I decided to try out Brown Eyed Baker's sugar cookie with royal icing. The cookie had great texture and a nice buttery flavor. I've never worked with royal icing before, and although it takes a bit of time, the result is beautiful. I'm still partial to cream cheese frosting, but I think there is something to be said for a smooth, perfectly iced cookie. Note to self - buy Wilton's icing color in green to get fabulous green color like Brown Eyed Baker.