Monday, June 27, 2016

The Staff of Life

My small (not Tiny) house is not particularly comfy just now.  It's 82 degrees inside.  But that's the way it needs to be.  I'm waiting for bread dough to rise, and I don't want to AC vents blowing down on it from the ceiling.

Making my Mother's Very Best Bread is a big undertaking.  Although the original recipe is cut down from 24 loaves to a mere 6, it's still tough work.  It has a quart of milk and half a pound of butter in it, not to mention a full 5-pound bag of flour, along with sundry other ingredients like eggs.  The dough weighs in at a hefty 8+ pounds.  It's a bit of a monster to knead by hand for the necessary 20 minutes.  But that's what I do; no prissy bread machine for me.

This bread is the good stuff.  Really good.  And those six loaves will last me about 6 weeks.  That's more than worth the effort and the discomfort.

I started quite late in the day, though--5 PM.  Usually bread-making is a first-thing-in-the-morning task, and that's the way it should be.  Problem is that I noticed this afternoon that the milk I bought on Friday (and which has a date of 7/8--1o days away) tastes a bit sharp, as though it's ready to turn.  It shouldn't but this is high summer in South Mississippi, so I know from experience that it can happen.  I decided not to wait a moment longer because I can't afford to waste 3/4 of a gallon of milk.  There's a quart of yoghurt in the yoghurt maker.  And the bread is on to rise.  There's still a bit of milk left--maybe some Milk Jam?  I'll decide after supper.

In the meanwhile, bread dough just ready to rise and shine:

Will update with results later!
.....and an hour and a half later, here we go:
Punched down and resting:
Shaped into six loaves 1 1/2 pound loaves.  I weigh the dough to make sure it's even--my kitchen scale was out of battery tonight so I had to use my eBay postal scale.  Worked just fine, thank you. 

At 8 PM, I am waiting through the final rising.  It had gotten to be 85 degrees in the house.  Daisy the Cat looked like she was on the point of passing out, and I wasn't far behind her, so I gave in and turned on the AC.  I'm sure the dough will be fine anyway.
One more update on the way when it comes out of the oven!.....
.....9:30 PM
Beautiful Bread.  My mother always said it was wrong to cut a warm loaf but I never can resist.  I think I'll go do that right now.
 Fresh homemade bread with melty butter.  Life is definitely good.

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