Monday, March 14, 2005

Honey Buttermilk Bread

I have decided that buttermilk is a great thing to have around the house now. I like using it for breads and things. It gives everything a really good flavor, adding a buttery richness and the tang of sour cream or yogurt. I was inspired to make bread in a loaf pan by Kelli at Culinary Epiphanies. I rarely use a loaf pan for bread, prefering to shaped loaves by hand, but her loaves always look so great. Besides, this is a more conventional size for making sandwiches.
This is such a good bread. It's really basic and has a very soft, light texture. It makes fabulous dinner rolls. It (unsurprisingly) makes a great sandwich bread. I personally like it toasted with jam.

Honey Buttermilk Bread
1/4 cup water, (warmed, 110F)
1 pinch sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (rapid rise is fine, too)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed
2-3 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1 egg

Combine water, sugar and yeast. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook, combine all ingredients (except egg). Mix until dough forms a smooth, slightly sticky ball. Knead dough on a floured surface for a few minutes, just until you can shape it into a ball. Don't work too much flour into the dough. It should be firm, but still slightly sticky. Place in greased bowl, covered, to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down and shape into rolls or a loaf. Beat egg slightly and brush top(s) of bread.
Preheat oven to 375F while bread rises.

Rolls: Place well spaced on a baking sheet. Let rise until almost doubled, 40 minutes. Bake 20 minutes, until well browned.

Loaf: Place in greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, 40 minutes. Bake 45 minutes, until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loaf with aluminum foil if top appears to be browning too quickly.

Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 large loaf or 10-12 rolls

On a totally unrelated note, I'm glad that I have been able to post so much lately. I first thought that it was a sign of blogger addiction, but now I realise that it's symptomatic of my cooking addiction combined with my ever- growing desire to photograph my cooking. Frankly, it also saves me the trouble of messing with recipe cards and whatnot when I want to make things again. Yes, my laptop lives in my kitchen now.
I'm not ashamed.