Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nanny's White Bread

First thing we did once they arrived was to put Nanny to work baking bread. This isn't the first time I've tried getting the recipe from her. When someone has done something for 50 plus years it becomes an involuntary movement. It's difficult to slow them down enough to understand what they're doing. So this time I decided to document it with photos for further analysis.

She says the first thing you HAVE to do is put on your apron and tie your hair up in a scarf, a handkerchief or a pair of panties, whatever you have handy. I opted for a scarf. People think I'm weird enough with chickens living on my back porch. Can you imagine if they stopped by and I had panties on my head?

Then I noticed she put about a cup of warm water in a bowl. Just warm enough as if you were going to feed a baby. To that she added a spoon full of sugar and a package of yeast.

After that she pulled out a giant bowl and poured in a 5lb bag of flour and a hand full of salt. This is where things get hairy for me. I'm one of those people who like real measurements. So I made her measure it in a real, bonafide measuring spoon and it turned out to be about a teaspoon. She also threw in two hand fulls of sugar (about two teaspoons.)
Then she whacked up a half a stick of butter and tossed it in with the yeast mixture.
She started mushing all that up in her hands and started adding water to it. Somewhere around 5 cups of water. Just enough for it to be doughy but not too gooey. There's a fine balance.
Then she pressed start on the bread machine. Er, well that's what I would do. She proceeded to kneed it by hand just like a machine. She's definitely done this before.
You might need to add more flour. The dough texture needs to be like satin.

After that she wrapped the whole bowl up in a blanket and set it aside to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. She punched it down then let it rise again for an hour.

After the second rise she tore out small sections of dough and rolled them into balls. Three balls to a pan. I asked her why she made them into balls instead of one long loaf. She said because that's just the way it's always been done. Okey, dokey then.

One more rise in the buttered pan for about an hour. She made two loaves in a loaf style to satisfy my curiosity.

Turns out she does it because it makes the loaf taller after being baked in the over at 350 for about 45 minutes.

And there you have it. Fifty years of bread baking experience in a nutshell.

I'd highly recommend you serve this toasted with jam. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Good.


Milah said...

Thanks for sharing. I will give it a try!

Katidids said...

Oh ho ho! I'm droolin on my keyboard! I can smell it! Pass the blackberry jam please!

Julie-Ann said...

Oh - just like my Mom use to make only she would make 2 loafs at a time. And, being the most wonderful Mom in the world, she would just happen to pull it out of the over around the time I arrived home from school. Ahh - the smell when I walked into the house. I loved it warm, right out of the oven with butter. The crunch when biting into the warm crust, the butter melting - it is like biting into heaven.

Thanks for jogging a great memory of my Mom for me! Her chocolate chip cookies would knock your socks off!

Renee said...

I have to make bread soon. That looks sooooooooooo good.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Well done - great post - still not brave enough to try it on my own. Would you rent her out? ;-)

Karen Anne said...

I'm late to this post, but that sure looks like a lot more than a teaspoon of salt?