A Southern Grace: the need to knead

April 23, 2015

the need to knead


I worked in a bakery for nearly five years. While my role was more focused on cakes and pies, I did get a lot of experience in making bread.

There's something really cathartic about the bread-making process--the mixing, the kneading, the shaping, and yes, the waiting. It's not a job for an impatient person, or rather, it's not a job an impatient person can tolerate for long. I've found that making a batch of bread once every two or three weeks is just right for me--I work out my angst without creating more with all of that infernal waiting.

This recipe makes two loaves, which is perfect for the two of us. I freeze one, and the other we slice up and use as toast for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch. I've also been known to just eat a slice in the evening while watching TV*. The bread is soft, sweet, and, assuming you have the patience to wait for proper proofing, perfectly textured.

*Totally hooked on The Wire now, BTW...as usual, I'm a few years behind. Better late than never, eh?

Take a few minutes an hour or four and make your own bread. It's a good time to reflect as well as work out some pent up aggression, and as a terrific bonus, you get something deliciously edible out of it.

Bread for Sandwiches (and Toast)(and French Toast)(and Sopping)
  • 2 cups warm water (110-120 degrees F)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour, give or take, plus more for your counter
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well-oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 194-200 degrees F.

Mad props to my personal photographer for his assistance in this post. He did not get paid.


Angie's Recipes said...

Homemade bread is the best. Your sandwich bread sounds wonderful, Grace.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I enjoy making bread - but it is too delicious for me to be trusted with it.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I love making bread, and I don't do it nearly enough...thanks for the kick in the pants inspiration!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love to bake bread (very therapeutic) and there's nothing quite like a homemade loaf!



Unknown said...

There is no better aroma than fresh baked bread! I admire your drive to make your own sandwich bread.

Beth said...

There's nothing as delicious as homemade bread. Whether it's knead or no-knead bread, you can't go wrong!

Marjie said...

I cheat by using the mixer to start the dough and do the first knead. I'd never have the patience for it otherwise.

Don't you find that the granite countertop cools the dough down and makes it rise slower? I'd be afraid of that. Your recipe does look good. I'll bet it would make a terrific French Toast, too.

Pam said...

There's nothing much better than fresh baked bread straight out of the oven. I used to make it a lot will have to soon after seeing this. Thanks for the recipe!

Juliana said...

I love baking bread...especially testing new recipes...I like that you used vegetable oil...in regards to patience...yes, all the waiting...but well worth it!
Enjoy the rest of your week Grace :)

Unknown said...

I used to make rolls many years ago, but have not tried since. After reading this am going to try again. The thought of fresh homemade bread with butter and molasses is very tempting. Tks for the inspiration.

Marcela said...

I love homemade bread! Thanks for the inspiration!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

There's no better smell than that of baking bread!! Delicious :D

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Kudos to your photographer, outstanding work! I really should bake some bread.... If only my husband would take the whole loaf in the truck with him.... I have such a hard time leaving it sit on the counter, all warm, and just waiting for some butter!

shaz said...

You're more patient than I am. I seldom make bread (cos of all that waiting). Btw, I couldn't get into The Wire (hubby loved it), but I really liked Treme. Thanks for stopping by and the sweet words :)

Pam said...

Free photographers are the best. I am sure you paid him in bread slices though right? Homemade bread is one of my very favorite foods. YUM.

Gloria Baker said...

I love to bake bread Grace and love knead!! is amazing!!

Katerina said...

I think shrinks should add kneading to their psychotherapy haha!I love homemade bread!

Joanne said...

I love digging my fingers into homemade dough!! It's one of the best parts of bread making.