With these posts I'm trying to share with the world the things that make my mom so fantastic. I've told you about her generosity, her sense of humor, her love of music and theater and (especially) babies... but what I haven't talked much about is her bread.
When I was a kid, Mom baked bread. Not all the time. Not every week, even. But if there was an "occasion" (celebration, death, birth, reunion....) Mom could always be depended on to bake her famous bread. She got the recipe from one of her relatives (help me out, Ma... who'd it come from?) and while the one I'm about to share is MY version of HER version of the ORIGINAL version, I promise that it's EASY and so, so, soooo yummy!
My Mom's Bread
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 packages yeast (quick rise NOT recommended)
8 (approx) cups white flour
2 Tbs vegetable oil
In a medium sauce pan, heat milk until slightly bubbly and a skim forms on top. Remove from heat and add sugar, salt and butter. Set aside and let cool to "baby bottle temperature".
Dissolve year in 1/3 cup warm water.
In large bowl, beat eggs with mixer. Add (cooled) milk mixture and yeast and continue to mix.
Slowly add flour and mix until it becomes a solid dough (or too hard on your mixer!). Knead on a floured surface until it is in a solid dough ball. *LEAVE THE MESS... You'll need to use the dough'd surface in a while...*
Pour 2 TBS vegetable oil in the mixing bowl (no need to wash it out...). Place dough "smooth side down" into oiled mixing bowl, spin it and turn so smooth side is up. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise to 2x it's original size. (This can take anywhere from 1 hour to a LOOONNNG time depending on the humidity level!)
Remove the cloth and punch the risen dough down. (A very satisfying moment in this recipe). Dump onto the floured surface and let rest about 5 minutes.
Knead dough again into a smooth ball. Cut into thirds. Knead each third into a loaf shape and plae in greased bread pans. Cover again with warm, damp cloth and let rise.
When dough has risen to twice its size (yes, again) bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Crust should be golden brown and bread should sound hollow when you tap it. Remove from oven and immediately coat with butter. YUMMY!!
If you can, eat a slice as soon as it's cool enough. Delicious with homemade lasagna. AMAZING the next morning as toast (with a glass of chocolate milk!) Freezes really well, too if you don't need 3 loaves.