Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Back in the early 1970s, I started making bread. I used to take pottery lessons in Georgetown, Wash. DC. One day after my pottery class, I was supposed to buy a dress for a party that night and I came home with an antique dough bowl instead. That was before I had my stand mixer. 

The reason why I make my own bread is; it contains no preservatives, it's less expensive, it's fun to do, it's very rewarding, and it certainly tastes better. If you don't have buttermilk, squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice in the milk and let sit out on the counter for about 15 minutes before using. 
This bread makes excellent sandwich bread - toasted or plain. It also makes fabulous French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
You may wonder why I have a small amount of ginger in the recipe. Ginger is a dough enhancer and it gives the yeast an extra boost.
Lastly, you may wonder why my recipe calls for yeast and baking soda. Together, they make the bread lighter and fluffier.

½ cup lukewarm water (about 105 degrees F)
½ t active dry yeast
¼ cup honey
¼ t ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces                                    
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 t sea salt 
½ t baking soda
½ cups unbleached bread flour    

2 t melted butter (optional)                

Pour the lukewarm water into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add the yeast, honey, and ginger. Let proof in the bowl for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour milk into a heatproof measuring cup and add the pieces of butter.
Warm the milk and butter in the microwave or you can do this in a small saucepan on the stovetop until butter is almost melted.
Set aside to cool to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Pour the buttermilk mixture, and enough of the flour, into the mixing bowl to make a medium batter. Mix with a wooden spoon.  
Add the egg, salt, and baking soda; mix again. 
Attach bowl to mixer and attach a dough hook and while mixing on low speed, add the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time. 
If you don't have a stand mixer, you can do this in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.
Mix for 3 minutes and then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough by hand for 2 minutes.

Lightly coat a bowl with cooking spray and add the dough.
Cover with a pizza pan, plastic wrap, or a damp tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Lightly coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. 
Punch down dough and form into a smooth oblong shape and place into the prepared loaf pan.

Let rise in a warm place about 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is about one inch (no more) above the rim of the loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, 15 minutes before the bread has finished rising.
Bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes.

Brush the top of the bread with the melted butter, if you want a softer crust.
Remove from loaf pan onto a wire rack to cool.

Makes one loaf

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