To Thine Own Bread Be True—Amish Bread

 

To many people, the Amish are a romanticized people, living life in peaceful harmony with nature. They do not use electricity, automobiles, or any of the modern conveniences we take for granted. The women keep house, tend the children, and prepare the food. And what food it is. Every Amish food I have tasted is beyond delicious. This bread is no exception.

 

Cooking Temperature 400 degrees F, 204 degrees C for ten minutes; then 375 degrees F,190 degrees C for about 35 minutes more

 

Makes 2 loaves

5-6 cups bread flour

3 teaspoons Rapid Rise/Instant yeast

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups warm spring or filtered water (110-120 degrees F, 43-48 degrees C)

1/3 cup olive oil

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In a large mixing bowl or the large bowl of a stand mixer, add 2 cups flour, yeast, honey, salt, water, and oil.

Mix either by hand or with the flat beater on your mixer until well blended and the dough is stretchy.

Add 1 more cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.

If using a mixer, change to the dough hook.

Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time letting the dough absorb completely each time, until dough cleans the sides of the bowl and balls up around the dough hook

If mixing by hand, when dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn out onto a floured board and continue adding flour, mixing with your hands, until the dough is stiff enough to knead.

Turn out onto a floured board to knead until dough is elastic and smooth. A few minutes if you used a mixer, about 8 minutes if you mixed by hand.

If dough is too stiff, see general instructions on how to add additional water to the dough.

Oil a bowl at least twice the size of your dough.

Form the dough into a ball and place into the bowl. Coat all sides of the dough with the oil.

Cover and let the dough sit in a warm place or in the oven on "proof" setting until doubled in size. This takes about 1 hour.

Punch down, cover, and let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Punch down again. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead for a few minutes to redistribute the yeast and work out air bubbles.

Divide into two equal parts. Form loaves.

Place loaves into oiled or non-stick sprayed bread loaf pans.

Cover with a cloth and let sit in a warm place until risen a little above the loaf pan (about 2 fingers' width at the crest).

Preheat oven.

For Loaf (loaves) Bake about 40 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes.

For rolls Bake for 15 minutes, then check for doneness.

Cool completely on a rack or towel-covered board.

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