Last weekend I made homemade bread and butter. Simple staples of life, that we have become accustomed to buying ready made. They are not hard to make with a good stand mixer. I am on my third Kitchen Aid stand mixer (the first one had a gear failure under warranty, the second one lasted about 20 years and developed a crack in the casting, I bought a new one a year ago.)
Basic White Bread
Measure about 1.25 cups of whole milk
Mix in a heaping tablespoon of sugar
Heat to about 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit (I heat it in the microwave for 45-60 seconds.
Stir in a heaping tablespoon of rapid-rise yeast (I use Fleishmans, I buy it in one-pound blocks on Amazon, it keeps well tightly covered in the freezer.)
Let this sit for 5 minutes or so. It will start to bubble showing that the yeast is starting to grow.
In the mixer bowl, measure about 3-cups of bread flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten content than all purpose flour and I find works more consistently. I pay a slight premium and buy King Arthur brand, I find it more reliable than cheaper or store brands. Add a pinch or two of salt and a couple of table spoons of melted butter.
Stir in the milk & yeast mixture.
Put the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook, lock the head down, and knead on the lowest speed for five-minutes.
As it kneads, if it looks sticky, add a dusting of flour, if it does not form a ball around the dough hook, add a tea-spoon or two of water. The exact amount of flour or water will vary depending on the humidity and the flour. This is not a chemistry formula - it is more of an art than a science.
When it is done kneading, remove the dough and lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and sit in a warm draft free place to rise for one-hour. I have halogen under cabinet lights in my kitchen, I sit it under one of those and the extra warmth helps the rise. At the end of the hour, punch down and form into a loaf. This can be baked in a loaf pan (spray it with no-stick spray) or as a free form loaf on a baking sheet (spray the sheet with a no-stick spray and or sprinkle it with corn meal.)
Cover and let it rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm draft free place. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a rack (if you baked it in a loaf pan, turn it out when you remove it from the oven.)
I had never made butter before. It is easy, though it takes a little time.
Pour one pint of heavy cream in the mixer bowl, with the flat paddle beater. Start on the lowest speed for 10 to 15 minutes until the cream increases in volume, then click up one or two speeds and continue processing. It will develop into an emulsion, a whipped cream, then beyond. It will start to develop a faint yellow color then the emulsion will "break" separating the solids and liquids. The solids are butter the liquid is butter-milk. This happens rather rapidly and you need to turn off the mixer when the butter starts to clump together in large chucks. Put a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and empty the contents of the mixer bowl into it. You want to separate the liquids and solids. I let it sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. I like my butter salted, so I returned the solids to the mixer bowl, put the mixer back on low and added salt to taste. Salted butter will keep longer than unsalted. The more thoroughly the liquids are removed from the solids, the longer the butter will keep. A pint of cream, makes just under half-a-pound of butter.
What is your latest kitchen adventure?