A Southern Grace: time well spent

March 31, 2014

time well spent


If you have the time and resources, I think it's absolutely worth it to make your own bread. Other things that are worth the time it takes to do them, at least in my eyes, include coupon clipping, washing your dishes in the sink (unless you've had a party or something), and shredding cabbage for pepper slaw.

Have you ever eaten buttermilk bread? Though I made it at the bakery several times, it didn't take me long to learn that it's a whole different beast in a home kitchen. In fact, my first attempt was almost a total bust--flat, pale, and not so tasty. I had plenty of theories as to what went wrong: not proofing long enough on either rise (something for which I was notorious at the bakery--patience is not my finest virtue), bad baking soda, not enough kneading (no Hobartat home--doh!), not enough flour, wrong oven setting and temperature (I tried the convection setting since that's what we used at the bakery, but that turned out to be the wrong choice), I got my liquids too hot and killed some yeast, or any combination thereof.

With my next loaves, I thought about going into scientist mode and fixing just one of those potential errors in order to ferret out the main culprit behind my flat bread, but in the end, I just adjusted all of them. Happily, the resulting loaves were lovely. This bread is awesome--soft and fluffy and flavorful. It's amazing toasted and tastes great in soup or as the basis of a simple PB&J.

Keep in mind that even if you're a practiced bread maker, you might have a bad day. Even a flat loaf is still pretty tasty. If you've never made your own bread and are intimidated to take a stab at it, you might ease into it with a mix--Krusteaz makes a great one. You'll never learn if you don't try and practice! I really do think it's time well spent.

Buttered Buttermilk Bread
Makes 2 9x5-inch loaves
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces butter, plus more to finish
  • 4-5 cups bread flour, divided use
  • 1/4 ounce instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Combine the buttermilk, water, and 2 ounces of butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter is nearly melted. You'll want to take the temperature of this and make sure it's somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees F.
While this is happening, combine 2 cups of bread flour and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl and stir to combine.
Add 2 more cups of bread flour and stir. Continue adding flour and kneading the dough until it's no longer sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a while longer, then place it in a large, oiled bowl.
Cover this bowl and place it in a warm spot until it rises to double its size.
At that point, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface.
Divide the dough into two equal portions and knead them out into rectangles sized approximately the size of a piece of notebook paper. Roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the seam closed.
Place each log of dough into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover, and leave to rise until the dough has risen about an inch over the top of the pan.
Using a serrated knife, make a slit down the middle of each loaf.
Bake in an oven heated to 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until browned and reading 200 degrees F on a thermometer.
Turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack and brush melted butter over the top and sides of the warm bread.
Let cool completely before slicing.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Homemade bread cannot be beat and yours looks marvelous!



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Homemade bread cannot be beat and yours looks marvelous!



Ally said...

I coupon clip and the bf loves to tease me about it. He thinks only 80 yr old grannies coupon clip. LOL

The bread looks delish!

Rosita Vargas said...

Se ve riquísimo su pan sacaré un trozo para mi desayuno,abrazos

Alicia Foodycat said...

That's a stunning loaf! I do like making my own bread - the kneading is so therapeutic.

Marjie said...

One essential thing with making bread is that the counter cannot be cold; that really sets the rising back by a ton. I've been making even more bread and rolls than ever since my dearly beloved's surgery, since the amount of sodium in store bought bread is really just incredible! I'll have to try your recipe; it sounds wonderful.

vanillasugarblog said...

I so agree with you!
And I have yet to make my own bread. LOL
I'm yeast-phobic.

~~louise~~ said...

I feel like you wrote this encouraging post for me, Grace. It's kinda reassuring to know even you have problems once in a while.

I definitely want to get over my yeastaphobia, Grace, your bread sounds heavenly:) I had better save the recipe, I WILL be baking bread one day! Thank you so much for sharing, Grace...

P.S. I no longer clip coupons but, I was q coupon Queen once long ago. I was even in the newspaper, no computers then, and a Women's magazine, lol...Thanks Grace:)

Blond Duck said...

Homemade bran is always the jam!

Katerina said...

I, too, make my own bread and give also to my parents. I have never tried buttermilk bread but I am adding it to my list. Such a well formed and fluffy loaf certainly worths a try!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

I used to have severe yeast phobia but it is breads like yours that saved me :D

Choc Chip Uru

Joanne said...

Who has two thumbs and a container of buttermilk in her fridge?! That would be me. Can't wait to try this!

Angie's Recipes said...

Your buttermilk loaf looks super, Grace.

Pam said...

Bookmarked! It seriously looks amazing. Do you think it would work in a bread machine? Yes, I am lazy. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have clipped coupons well before my marriage on 5/24/1974 almost 40 years of marriage, I watch what I spend since my hubs worked retail grocery for all his life, I have a new fridge, dishwasher and sink and faucet, I am careful of how I treat all appliances. Last fridge was almost 36 years old and still worked..the d/w I had only 2 and I broke both handles and washed dishes for years to save up to buy the dishwasher with cash and old people discount..i am askin flint, I cook from scratch and sew and can and can mend most everything, I keep tidy and clean and neat. I love to make bread for gifts, since no one does that anymore and homemade jam from huckleberries and marrionberries which are hard to find but a friend and I have a source and we love to free them and make them when we get our about 200 days of inclement weather here, this past month of march it rained more than in 100 years, no drought predicted and if it warms up fast, our strawberries, corn and marrionberries and huckleberries will be huge and sweet..I love your blog, keep up the breakmaking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I meant to say we love to gather them up the huckleberries and marrionberries in a secret place..We freeze them up and make them when it is raining, damp and bitter cold, we got snow the first week of February and it is snowing like all get out now..wow whee, dry jan, feb, march(rain) and dec. was cool and dry..global warming is for real. take care happy baking and cooking too!

Juliana said...

You cannot beat the taste of a home baked bread...yours sure looks awesome Grace...nice texture, soft and fluffy.
I like that you added buttermilk...
Have a great week :D

lisa is cooking said...

I love to have a toasted piece of this bread with jam, please! I've never made buttermilk bread but can't wait to try it.

Caroline Taylor said...

Look at that inside! I've never made buttermilk bread, it sounds brilliant.

Barbara said...

That loaf looks awesome, Grace! Wish I made bread more often. I used to, but with kids gone, not so much anymore. Don't think I've ever made a buttermilk loaf though. Must be fabulous toasted!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I don't think I've ever had buttermilk bread but it sounds tasty and definitely worth the time and effort!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Grace, I'm so making this bread! I sometimes buy buttermilk if I don't make it by souring regular milk and there's always lots leftover so this will be perfect!

Judit |Wine Dine Daily said...

Grace, love homemade bread and yours with buttermilk look utterly scrumptious! Have to make some soon too :)

Anonymous said...

handling dough and making breads at home is so relaxing,soothing,calming....we can never have enough of it....and with such inspiring food clicks...a perfectly golden brown crust and tender crumb,your bread and recipe is calling us to make one today,thanks so much for sharing :-)

Carolyn Jung said...

Looks like the absolute perfect loaf for Sunday French toast. ;)

Anonymous said...

I may just give this a try. We love bread here. I agree with a comment above that it sounds like it might be good for French Toast. Yum!!!
Congratulations on doing such a great job! Loving this blog! (Mrs. S)

I Wilkerson said...

I love homemade bread too! This looks delicious!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I have never even heard of Buttermilk Bread before, so I am looking forward to trying this! Also sounds like a good use for that last cup of buttermilk I never have a use for :)