Bread baking has plagued me since the first year of my marriage. I have made some awful bread over the last five years, though I should say that most of it has just been mediocre. I was overjoyed when I learned how to make the no-knead bread. Finally I could pull something out of the oven that not only looked lovely but was a wonderful consistency. But still, sometimes you just want some tender white bread like your mom used to make, you know?
I watched Charlotte bake bread on several different occasions. She never missed an opportunity to explain to us that baking bread is a skill born of experience. Dreaded words to be sure. Basically meaning to me that it was going to take a lot of time (am impatient) and a few mistakes (am easily frustrated) before I'm effortlessly turning out beautiful bread. Humph.
This is my favorite bread recipe from Charlotte. Although once I get my hands on some whole wheat flour, I'll probably start making her 1/2 and 1/2 recipe. I thought you might enjoy having the recipe too. Especially if you're like me and plan on spending the next 50 years of your life perfecting your baking skills.
Combine 1/2 C. warm water + 1 Tbsp. yeast--set aside
6 Tbsp. Butter
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Hot water
Combine to melt butter
1 C. Buttermilk
2 C. Bread Flour
Stir to combine
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Begin mixing and slowly add up to 4 C. Bread flour.
Mix/Knead until smooth. (I don't really have good instructions for this...I just do what I saw my mom, my grandma, and Charlotte do.)
Allow to rise for 1 hour in oven with light on.
Form into 2 loaves and rise again (approx. 30 min)
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. (I think I will bake mine for a couple more minutes next time...I think mine was a little under-done.)