COOKING / BAKING / EATING

Blatant Bread Boasting

I'm just going to come right out a say it...

Bread is delicious and I love it!


And lately, I've been in the mood to bake... Though really, it's more like a semi-permanent ME state!

I believe this particular bout was brought on by the changing of the seasons (Summer to Fall). There is something magical in the crispness of the evening air, as leaves turn and I obsess about Halloween costumes and baking.

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So that (and also because I was out of bread) got me started on a few loaves! I have used a version of this recipe a few times with good success! 

I say "a version" because I never had one of the ingredients and have always made it without that one. Also (maybe it's the altitude up here a Mile High) but I needed more flour as well. Both modifications are reflected in this recipe.  

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 tbsp instant yeast

1/2 cup honey

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup to add gradually as needed during mixing)

1 tbsp salt

 

Sprinkle the yeast (2 tbsp instant yeast) over warm water (2 1/2 cups).

Drizzle the honey over the yeast and water.

The honey submerge the yeast and in about 5 minutes will get nice and foamy (this is proofing the yeast).

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Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a stand mixer, or a large bowl if mixing by hand.

After proofing five minutes, add yeast/water/honey mixture, scrapping the container to get all the honey into the bowl.

 
 

Start mixer at low speed until the dough starts coming together, then increase to mid speed and let the mixer go for 5-6 minutes.

If you're mixing by hand, combine ingredients and knead on a clean, lightly floured surface for the same time (5-6 minutes).

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Shape dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl (a new one, or the same one if it's not full of flour and not-quite-dough bits).

Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap sprayed with Pam or oil.

 

Let dough rise until doubled in size (about an hour in my Colorado kitchen in September).

Grease bread pans, then divide dough and shape into 2 loaves of bread, placing in prepared pans.

 
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Cover with towel or plastic wrap and let rise again until the loaves have doubled in size.

During the 2nd rise, preheat oven to 365 degrees.

 

Once doubled in size again, uncover.

Brush with butter if desired (I kind of wish that I had).

Bake at 365 degrees for 25-27 minutes. Usually, I wait until I smell the bread and it's around 26 minutes.

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Cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove to finish cooling on a rack... If you can wait that long, I don't! Warm, slathered in butter and jelly thank you!

I am not sure how long the loaves last, the longest they survive uneaten around here is 2-3 days.

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My KitchenAid Stand Mixer is my baking BFF!

We've been through it all: Bread (of course), cakes & frosting, pizza dough, mountains of meringue, cinnamon rolls & doughnuts, just to name a few of our favorite things!

 

Flirt Made It - F&W's Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread

So I was HARDCORE craving something sweet and didn't want the creation of said sweet to take a ridiculous amount of preparation time.  Read that to mean, I wanted something sweet, FAST!  I went to the trusty internet to see what it had to say about FAST & SWEET.

 

I'm not totally sure why but my laser focus was right on COOKIES. Driven by this singular inspiration, I went with "Fast Cookies" for my search. As anticipated, there were many delightful offerings...Many Chocolate chip recipes and of course I love the classic fast Peanut Butter cookies but I'm almost out of PB so that was not going to happen.



Oh yeah, this caught my eye! I rabidly skimmed the list for the top contenders. While a few sound like they've got future fast cookie test potential, I decided on the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread.

With just 5 ingredients, these are essentially MAGIC. Yes, ok! They do have one fast cookie flaw in that your butter needs to be at room temperature...which takes time unless (you've got a hack for that of course!) However (outside) of the butter temp situation, these are incredibly FAST and deliciously SWEET.

 

They were just the sweet, tasty treat I was after!  Mind you, mine are just a tad over done...per the simple and easy instructions they should be just barely brown on bottom with white tops and sides.  In spite of a bit of over-brownage (LOL) I say again, these cookies are AMAZING...

 

I am OBSESSESD with Nielson-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Paste in all my sweet baking. It really is the best and truly makes all the difference in this and every recipe I use it in... I bought a large volume bottle myself because the quality of this vanilla is impeccable. I wish you could taste these!

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End Result

The Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread fully lives up for it's name! They are light, crisp and so very tender, with just the right sweetness and ultimate vanilla-ness!