So, About that Bread (and a giveaway)

by Stefani on 21-October-2008

So, yeah, as I was saying… 

I was on this little quest to find a good bread – tasty, at least somewhat healthy, easy to make, reliable,versatile, and one that slices up nicely and toasts well. 

Is that so much to ask?

We obviously really loved the yummy white bread recipe that I mentioned yesterday, so I started there. 

Dough

First, I made a loaf using half white flour and half wheat flour instead of all white. 
I worried that it would flop, but no, my band of men scarfed it down just as readily.

So, I got a little reckless and thought I’d cut the sugar in half. I felt pretty sure that I’d regret that, but no… still yummy. 

Then, in an act of complete and total wild abandon, I substituted good local honey for the 1/4 cup of white sugar and low and behold, it worked out great!

At this point, I had made 5 loaves of bread over a span of about a week. That’s probably more than I’ve made in the entire last year, if you don’t count any quick breads like banana or pumpkin or biscuits. 

But I was on a roll, and so close to that perfect recipe that I could, literally, taste it. In fact, I thought I was probably as close as I was going to get to my goals, until I went shopping. 

Butter On Top

I tossed a couple of ginormous bags of flour in my basket, a new jar of yeast and then I stood staring at the tub o’ Butter-Flavored Crisco. 

You just cannot beat Crisco for flakey pie crust, and the butter flavored version… well, it’s the best thing going, so I really did not think that I could manage to make a decent bread without it. 

I mean really, it’s only a 1/4 cup in each loaf, that’s not so bad, right? 

But then… would I spread their toast with that stuff? Is baking it directly INTO the bread any different?

Crud. 

So I got online and did a little digging around and found Spectrum Organic Shortening and decided to give it a whirl. It’s got 0 trans fats and is non-hydrogenated. It’s naturally cholesterol free and made from palm oil that is harvested in a sustainable way by family farms in Columbia. 

When I finally got my hands on some, I read this on the back: 

“… It’s good for you, the farmers, and the earth… just imagine what it does for pie crust.”

Sold. 

The good folks at Spectrum have included a store locater search on their website, so you can plug in your digits and find a dealer near you. And no, this is not an advertisement. I’ve had no communication with the Spectrum people and am not being paid to sing their praises, honest. But, um, if you guys are reading this and would like me to test drive your other wonderful sounding products, I’m game. 

Anyhow, loaf number six was perfection. Pure. Complete. Perfection. 

Ahhhhh, the sweet taste of success. 

I imagine I’ll continue to tweak things a bit… 

Maybe add some rolled oats to the top, maybe throw in a little flax, maybe overcome my mental block and use ALL whole wheat flour.

I’d like to keep experimenting with the process too… do all my kneading in the mixer? the food processor? by hand? half mixer half by hand? 

Maybe I’ll see if the dough freezes well after the first rising, so that I can make a lot at once. 

Maybe I’ll pre-measure dry ingredients for several batches into plastic bags so that the assembling is easier. 

Maybe I’ll make 4 loaves in one day instead of two every other day and see if they freeze well, fully baked. 

You know what? It’s cool with me that I don’t have ALL the answers, because I finally have a good bread. 

The rest, well that’s the fun part… fiddling with it, breathing it in as I mix and knead, watching little boys follow their noses into the kitchen, smiles growing as they say, ” Mmmmmm…. Today’s bread making day?”

Oh yes. Yes it is. 

So, without further ado, and even though my husband says that “The Secret Signature Recipe” should be kept secret, I give you Blue Yonder’s Daily Bread. 

Sliced

It has been a labor of love, and I so enjoy the idea of it gracing your table too. I really hope that you like it as much as we do. 


Blue Yonder’s Daily Bread

    2 T warm water

    1 ½ t yeast

    ½ t sugar

    1 1/2 cups bread flour

    2 cups whole wheat flour

    ¼ c Spectrum Organic shortening

    1/4 cup honey

    1 c warm water

    1 t salt

In a small cup or bowl, combine warm water with yeast and sugar. Let that sit for about 10-15 minutes. Then, in a large bowl pour yeast mixture, water, flours, shortening, honey and salt. Using an electric mixer or food processor, blend until all ingredients are incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

You can keep mixing for 7 minutes, or just for 3 or 4 and then knead the dough by hand for a few more minutes. The dough should no longer be sticky, but smooth and elastic. If you push your fingers in, the hole should refill itself quickly.

Remove the dough and place in a clean bowl that has been greased lightly with oil. Turn dough over in bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp clean cloth and place in a warm spot to allow dough to double in size. This time of year, it takes about an hour to an hour and 20 minutes for that to happen.

After dough rises, punch down to eliminate bubbles. Spray or grease and flour 9×4 or 5 inch loaf pan. Shape dough into a loaf and place in pan. In warm spot let rise again, uncovered until it doubles in size. This usually takes about another hour for us.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaf for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped lightly on top. Makes 1 loaf.

Happy Baking!

********************edited 1/28/09, to add:

So I have to tell, ya, the day that we were out of Spectrum AND whole wheat flour, I improvised and HOLY. SMOKES! What came out of the oven was pinch-me-cuz-I-must-be-dreamin’-good! We replaced the wheat flour with All Purpose white, and the 1/4 cup Spectrum with 1/2 cup canola oil.

The dough was REALLY wet. I had to work in a pretty good bit more while I was kneading to keep it from sticking. Don’t add too much though, just enough so you don’t have to scrape it of the counter each time you turn it.

It’s good… so very fluffy and bouncy. It kinda dances right out of the oven and straight onto your hips, if you catch me.

Enjoy!

Katherine October 21, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Yum! We are going to have to try that bread. maybe our blue yonder summer will become a blue yonder fall too! Thanks for the recipe.

Kelly October 21, 2008 at 9:19 pm

can’t wait to try this…..

Sarah Jackson October 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm

It sounds delicious. We make a very similar bread, but I use 2 tablespoons of canola oil instead of the shortening. I took the recipe from Julia Child’s baking book. Yum!

Julie Alvarez October 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Oh, it seems that I am the first one to comment here. Maybe that brings me luck? fingers crossed!
I love how you turn every little thing into an adventure…

Allison October 21, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Earlier in the year my son and I made a loaf of bread every morning for a week. That was so much fun. The act of making bread in itself is fun. No doubt this will be one of your children’s fondest memories as they grow up. =)

… and thank you for the give away opportunity!

myrnie October 21, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Oh yum! Let us know if you try it with all whole wheat? It seems that my all-wheat breads don’t rise nearly as much as my wheat/white loaves. I’d love to think this is just user-error, and that I can fix it!

And how sweet of you to make this into a give-away!

jenny October 21, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I will most definetely try this one! I have my grandma’s white bread recipe and it makes 4 loaves at a time. It’s tasty stuff and I’ve never been brave enough to try to alter it. I can come up with crazy meals no problem, but when it comes to bread- I follow the recipe!

Anyway I can bribe the random number generator?? :o)

Cynthia October 21, 2008 at 9:28 pm

That bread sounds delicious. Maybe it’s time for me to be brave and give homemade bread baking a try.

Candy October 21, 2008 at 9:33 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve been looking for an ‘everyday bread’ recipe to replace our store bought loaves with. 🙂

Kristi October 21, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I am always on the lookout for the perfect bread recipe- sounds like you found a winner!

sarah October 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm

oh, i hope this recipe works. my quest for the perfect bread has not yet been fulfilled. here’s to hoping!

bean October 21, 2008 at 9:49 pm

I love baking bread, even though I can’t eat it myself. This is our (well, not ‘mine’ but you get the picture) favorite sandwich/daily bread. This recipe yields 3 loaves & freezes well 🙂

http://coyotecraft.blogspot.com/2007/11/honey-whole-wheat-sandwich-bread.html

Holly October 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe! My husband and I were just talking about trying to find a good sandwich bread recipe to make at home. He makes a great white bread, but I was hoping for something a little more nutritious. Looks like you may have provided the answer!

I love that butterdish, too.

The American Homemaker October 21, 2008 at 10:01 pm

That bread looks delicious and the butter dish is so adorable.

Pumpkin October 21, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Last year, I baked a few loaves of bread but they weren’t what I wanted even if they were eaten up by my kids. You have inspired me to give it another shot!

Beth October 21, 2008 at 10:37 pm

OK– I can’t pass up a chance to win one of Melissa’s beautiful pieces… I love everything she creates and the care she puts into her art.

Good work with the bread! We’re back to a love affair with bread baking– Just can’t believe the price these days for bread! The fewer the ingredients the higher the price.

I love every visit here, though I don’t write that often enough.

Thanks so much!

karen October 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm

yumo! ive just been making bread using bread mix but youve inspired me, im gona give your recipe a try, look forward to it. xo-karen

Mary Jenkins October 21, 2008 at 11:12 pm

If I send you a SASE, would you put a slice of that bread in it and send it to me ? lol! This bread looks so good!

Amber October 22, 2008 at 12:05 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I can’t wait to make some bread!

christi October 22, 2008 at 12:16 am

mmm sounds delicious! i used your challah recipe the other day and that was fantastic! keep up the good work!

Ella October 22, 2008 at 12:24 am

the dough caught my eye over on flickr since it was also our bread baking day. There’s nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread warming the kitchen…couple it with a fresh pot of coffee and i’m a happy gal.

waldorfmama October 22, 2008 at 12:55 am

wow, that sounds easy AND yummy! i’m trying it! oh, and put my name in the hat for the giveaway, too, please. 🙂

Ellie - Petalplum October 22, 2008 at 2:24 am

This sounds like a simple and easy to remember recipe. My bread making isn’t quite so specific – ie I add too much water or too much flour, and end up having to add more and more of each thing until it’s gets right. I like your simple recipe; have to give it a go. I’ll probably use olive oil instead of your shortening, and maybe omit the honey.
Also – you should try rye flour, maybe half and half with white. My (fussy) family likes that combination.
And I do mine half and half in the mixer and then kneading by hand. I like the thought that I’m maybe doing a little bit of a muscle-building job, but mainly the rhythm and memories of my Mum kneading the bread (no machines for her!).
Good luck with your search for perfection….

Tiff October 22, 2008 at 2:37 am

The bread looks yummy, can’t wait to try the recipe!
Thanks for the contest, love the butter dish.
Tiff

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary October 22, 2008 at 3:24 am

One of the best parts of Fall for me is being able to make bread again. My in-laws are coming in for a visit next week and I plan on making some bread just to say “welcome back”. Thanks for hosting a contest!

katef October 22, 2008 at 3:37 am

oh my! even better that your first recipe.. another one where someone else has done all the trial and error work! Thanks so much!
Don’t worry about entering me your generous comp as I live on the other side of the world so postage would probably cost you more than any prize was worth… the recipe is prize enough!

golden October 22, 2008 at 4:20 am

I just got a stand mixer for my birthday! It is waiting for it’s maiden bread voyage!
And that butter bell is so gorgeous!

naturalkids October 22, 2008 at 4:32 am

I can’t wait to try the bread recipe! Thank you for sharing!

Peace

Jessica H October 22, 2008 at 4:35 am

I am new to your blog, so happy I stumbled upon it. Love the butter dish, and love homemade bread. My new favorite this is artisan bread made from the recipes in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day…..sooo sooo good.

Penny in VT October 22, 2008 at 4:36 am

Wow, thanks for sharing your recipe – I can’t wait to try it!
Thanks also for the contest, what a fun thing to do!

Penny

meg October 22, 2008 at 4:37 am

Baking bread for our family is one of those things that I’ve been meaning to do (I love to bake!), but have only actually gotten around to doing it once. And I wasn’t in love with that recipe. Thanks for the encouragement to try again!

Jody October 22, 2008 at 4:40 am

I have been so intimidated by the thought of making homemade bread. You descibed my feelings well in your post yesterday. Your recipe does seem easy enough. Perhaps I can dive in and give it a try.

kristin at prairie daze October 22, 2008 at 4:46 am

you know i’m in.

and i think i’m baking some bread.

natasha s October 22, 2008 at 4:47 am

oh yum scrum,I am going to try this today.
First I need to get my arse down to WF and get that spectrum shortening.Funny thing is that I actually picked it up and looked at it yesterday!!!!
I’ll post about it on my blog so you can see if I mannaged to get it right:0)

Cheerio

(I have my fingers crossed for that butter dish,wink,wink)

Lisa Payne Kirker October 22, 2008 at 4:56 am

I was supposed to go to the grocery store yesterday. I waited until today so I could read your Daily Bread recipe – I wanted to make sure I had everything on hand.

Thanks Steph! You realize that thanks to you our homes are going to smell amazing this evening?

peregrine October 22, 2008 at 5:05 am

count me in! thanks for the recipe. i have never actually seen a bread recipe with shortening before. thanks for expanding my horizons.

Kelly October 22, 2008 at 5:20 am

I actually made this bread last night. I tweaked it a bit, using 1/2 C Wheat flour, and the organic shortening from Spectrum. I will have to make another loaf today, and subsitute the sugar with honey…Oh JOY! YUMMM! I have been using the organic shortening for years, it is well worth the extra $, pie crust is AMAZING, with it! Oh my, now I must make another pie, as well!:-)Thank you, for sharing~

amylouwho October 22, 2008 at 5:21 am

I can’t wait to try this bread! I’ve got some other cooking on the menu today – but I think I will give it a go next week. Nothing like homemade bread warm from the oven with a little butter and honey on it.
mmmmmm.

Marissa October 22, 2008 at 5:24 am

I think my guys will love the bread recipe, and the butter dish looks good enough to eat itself! Thanks for the contest!

Toni McKinley October 22, 2008 at 5:25 am

I was so anxious to see your recipe! I have had such bad experience making bread! I can’t wait to try it!
Toni

michele, FL October 22, 2008 at 5:26 am

I make bread every week for my family. My kids LOVE it. Last week a friend of mine gave me a french bread pan, and we used the same dough and made two loaves. Delicious! If you ever want to go a step further, purchase a grain mill. Nothing beats the nutrition and taste of freshly milled flour, and it only takes about 3 minutes to grind that grain…..I’m going to check out your pie recipes 🙂

Aileen October 22, 2008 at 5:28 am

You’ve convinced me. Kind of like “you had me at Hello.” I will try to bake bread. And listen to my husband say in his witty manner, “you know, they sell that stuff in the store.”

My kids will be so happy. I don’t make enough messes with them in the kitchen. The key words being “with them.” I make plenty of my own messes. Well, actually not enough of those either. Hmmm.

Off to ponder my lack of cooking.

Aunt LoLo October 22, 2008 at 5:32 am

Ooh…count me in! The butter dish is ADORABLE…and I’m always up for cookbooks that are useable…usable..bulubaba. Yeah. Can’t spell this morning. Sorry!

Note on the bread – my sister has gotten REALLY into the homemade bread scene…mostly to use up about 200 pounds of wheat that found its way into her pantry from a friend who was rotating his food storage supplies. So, she grinds her own wheat in her VitaMix…and has found that using 100% whole wheat does NOT a tasty loaf make. At least, in her little family of three, she’s the only one that will eat it! (If she’s reading this, I’m almost sure she’ll post the same thing – we’ve been doing it a lot lately, being twins at all. Say hi to I Wonder Woman if she drops by for me, alright? ;-))

Let me know how the freezing goes…I always wanted to freeze my bread dough and just treat it like Rhodes…but I’ve never tried it.

Mandy October 22, 2008 at 5:36 am

OOOOh. Enter me! That sounds so lovely. Now you have me wondering when on earth I could find time to make some bread. Hmm.

elissa Finger October 22, 2008 at 5:41 am

looks delicious. will have to give it a go when i get a chance…. and i’m game for the contest….. count me in!

millie October 22, 2008 at 5:44 am

Pick me!

Caroline October 22, 2008 at 5:49 am

I cannot wait to try your recipe. I love fresh baked bread and have been splurging on the “artisan” breads made are our local Market Street. If you ever get a chance, can you share a good Sourdough version you like?

Bonnie October 22, 2008 at 5:50 am

For some reason I’ve really been wanting to try making bread lately. This recipe might actually get me to do it. Thanks for sharing!

DebKar October 22, 2008 at 5:51 am

I’m looking forward to giving both of these recipes a try!

Leah S October 22, 2008 at 5:52 am

Saved the recipe for future use – I need to get back into bread making. I really like the look of the beehive butter dish, as my husband and I have yet to find the perfect dish for our butter.

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