Monday, March 10, 2008

Crusty Hearth Bread

I had every intention of taking a picture of the entire loaf, but the kids were hungry and super grouchy today, so there was no stopping for a photo.

I've been making this recipe for about 16 years now. Hard to believe it has really been that long since I started college and received my first cookbook: Betty Crocker, of course. It earned me the reputation of the mother of the apartment, according to one of my roommates. Paired with a good, thick potato soup or chowder, it's so very satisfying. Also excellent with ham and muenster cheese on the following day.

So here's the recipe. I make it in the KitchenAid mixer, not by hand as the recipe indicates.

Crusty Hearth Bread

1 pkg (1 tablespoon) regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/4 cup shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
egg wash
kosher salt
rosemary, poppyseeds, dried garlic, etc.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the buttermilk, shortening, sugar, baking powder and salt until smooth. Stir in remaining flour until dough forms. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead gently about 1 minute or until smooth. Cover and let rise 10 minutes.

Grease a cookie sheet. Shape dough into round loaf, about 8 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash* and sprinkle with rosemary, dried garlic, or poppyseeds (or a combination thereof). Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep in top of bread. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; sprinkle with kosher salt. Tear bread into pieces, or cut into slices.

*For an excellent website about egg washes and "crust embellishments," click here.


Lindsay said...

I like the idea that when your boys are grouchy, the thing that truly cheers them up is homemade bread. If they were my children, they would be eternally grouchy, cuz i've never made bread.:)

Patty O. said...

This is perfect timing. I was planning on making some bread for dinner with the missionaries tonight (my family gets the best food only when someone is coming over for dinner. How sad!) Thanks. I am going to make it this afternoon. The photo made my mouth water. My kids are like yours: total bread addicts, so I will have to hide it until dinner....

I agree with your comment on my blog. Some parents are totally gifted and able to homeschool their kids, but most people would probably need some further educations (beyond high school) to be able to teach. And I too would have major problems in the math department seeing as how I barely passed pre-calculus in high school. Bil had to give me some intensive tutoring before I took the teaching exam to get my sub cert. and that test is really not all that hard....

I am intrigued by those homeschoolers who form a coop of sorts, where they go on field trips together and swap lessons, etc. so that if one parent excels in math, he/she could teach math and another parent could take care of history, etc. It could work, but it aggravates me that some people don't put any sort of work or effort into homeschooling and they still think their kids are getting a superior education.

OK, I will get off the soapbox. I have some bread to make!

Kristi said...

Yummmmmmm......this sounds wonderful!

Patty O. said...

Reba, I made a loaf last night and there was just one small piece left after my kids and the missionaries (and I) had had our fill. Thanks for the recipe. It is a new favorite for us!