Fall is my favorite time of the year - I love to sit out on the patio swing with a blanket & enjoy the sounds of the birds migrating, the leaves falling and the crisp air.
I also like to bake more in the fall, one of my favorites being my Grandma's homemade bread. I'm the only one in the family that makes it (and I think the only one she gave a "recipe" to) but I'm going to share it with you - Nothing better than fresh baked bread in the fall!
Grandma's Bread Recipe
3 Cups of WARM (not hot) Potato Water (you can use tap water if you want, but Grandma used the water she boiled her potatoes in, hence "potato water")
2-3 pkgs Dry Active Yeast
1-2 Tbsp Sugar (I use a little less - add to taste)
1 tsp Salt
5-7 Cups of Flour (the actual amount will depend on the how much humidity is in your house)
1/2 Cup melted (but not hot) Bacon Fat (you can use veg. oil, but why.....?)
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease & flour your bread pans well (sides & bottom). I usually get at least three reg. sized loaves or about 7 mini loaves with this recipe.
Pour water into large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast, sugar & salt on top, stirring softly to gently mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast activates (bubbly!)
Start adding the flour, cup by cup, until it reaches the state of a thick paste. Add the melted Bacon Fat at this point & mix well. Continue adding the rest of the flour until it starts forming a ball.
Flour the countertop and dump the dough out of the bowl, making sure to flour your hands often and start kneading the bread, adding additional flour as needed. Continue kneading (10-15 minutes) until the dough ball is smooth & not sticky (be careful not to add TOO much flour though! You don't want tough bread)
Lightly oil the mixing bowl you started with (I save a little bit of the bacon fat & rub it around the bowl - extra bacon bits and all!) and place the dough in the bowl. Cover lightly & let sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Punch down the risen dough. Pinch off the appropriate amount for your bread pan (fill each pan about 1/3rd full) You can shape the bread dough so it's smooth or just plop it in there!
Line up all the filled pans & cover lightly - let rise again. 30-60 minutes.
Place bread pans in the oven, center shelf, making sure they don't touch each other or the sides of the oven.
Bake until browned and "hollow" sounding when you tap on the top. (30 minutes?)
Let bread cool on a cooling rack before placing in any storage bags (freezes great)
Best way to enjoy this bread is hot out of the oven, with butter and a bowl of homemade Chicken Dumpling Soup - Yum!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I love it.