Be still, my heart.
I had wanted to make this bread ever since I saw it in my cookbook several months ago. It was lovingly bookmarked with an old Walmart receipt and revisited often, but I never had time to make it. I finally decided that today would be the day. And OH, IT WAS.
The scent of bread rising/baking/cooling/being devoured is one of my favorite smells in the world. I was in such bliss that I almost didn’t notice the mound of dishes left over from lunch.
One batch makes 2 loaves, and since I only have 1 loaf pan, I made dinner rolls with the other half. I’ve always been rather fond of variety.
This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Most of the ingredients are pretty basic, so you’ll probably only need to buy the cream of potato soup.
- 7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 10.75-oz can condensed cream of potato soup
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives (I used approx. 1/8 cup dried chopped chives)
- 1 Tbs fresh dill (I used 1 tsp dried dill. It also says you can use tarragon.)
The biggest surprise of this recipe was… I actually followed all the directions. I KNOW. It was a strange experience. But I don’t make bread very often, so I wanted to tread lightly with this one instead of blundering in with my own ideas.
- Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the yeast in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan until just warm and the butter mostly melts.
- Add the milk mixture to the bowl of flour along with the soup, sour cream, chives and dill (or tarragon). Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds, constantly scraping the bowl, then beat on high speed for a few minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- Sprinkle some flour on a clean counter and dump out the dough onto the floured surface. Flour your hands as well, and knead some more flour into the dough until it is relatively stiff, smooth and stretchy. This should take about 5-8 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour as you go.
- Melt 1 Tbs butter into a large bowl (or lightly grease the bowl however you prefer). Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, turning over so the whole surface of the dough is greased.
- Cover with a slightly damp dishtowel and let it rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, or until it doubles in size. Some possible rising places: in an open oven set to 100°, in the laundry room on top of a warm dryer, etc. I set it on a couple of books stacked up near my space heater. Basically, it needs to be warm but not too hot.
- Punch down the dough once in the center. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. During that time, grease 2 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Or, if you’re me, grease one loaf pan and one baking sheet.
- Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in the pans. If you’re using the other half for rolls, it makes about 12 rolls (if you’re only making rolls and no loaves, it makes about 24). Divide the rolls and place them 1-2 inches apart on the greased baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place 30-40 minutes or until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake the loaves about 25 minutes (if you made rolls, take them out at 18 minutes). If the top of the loaf starts to brown too quickly, you can cover it with tinfoil. When it’s done, it should sound hollow when you tap it.
- Remove the bread from the pans and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Devour with butter.
- Come back for more.
Stephen and I had a couple rolls with dinner, but I put the rest in a freezer bag and stuck them in the freezer. The loaf is in my refrigerator tempting me to cut it open and toast it with butter.
I kept forgetting to take pictures, but here are a few:
This is after the first rise. I had just divided the dough.
This is after the second rise:
Ready to bake:
Fresh out of the oven and Stephen already snatched a roll: