I am still not sure where it came from…the desire to gain such knowledge…but here it is, almost 6 weeks later, and "mission accomplished". It had its moments <smiling> of epic fail, then maybe I am getting this, to well, I am getting somewhere, to wth? I have gone backwards…lol…Dave, DC, my coworkers, the dogs, the birds…everyone got a piece of this lesson as it was learned!
For about a week now, the results (nightly) of my bread baking have been successful, and static. Time to move on to the next thing– I knew that for sure when Nattie came to visit on Sunday for dinner, and grammy’s cookie bucket was empty! So, I did make a batch of chocolate chip cookies with little heart sprinkles on them, and they came out of the oven just in time to cool enough to wrap them for her take home along. I smile as I picture her with the plate of them tucked in against her little side while she headed for her boots and winter coat.
So…the reason for this blog is to share the recipe that has worked the best for me.
If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, it does simplify it…but it can be done without such.
First–for a stand mixer. Put the dough hook in the mixer. Place lock in mixer bowl to stand. Measure 1 cup hot tap water and pour in bowl. Add one tablespoon shortening, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 cups flour. Turn mixer on low speed and stir to mix while you add 1/2 cup warm water to a 2 cup measure cup. Add 2 tablespoons dry yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar to water in cup. Stir to dissolve. (I use the blade of a butter knife to stir–the yeast does not clump and stick to the knife blade like it does to a spoon.). As soon as the yeast starts to foam a bit (it is a living organism), add to the mixer bowl, then immediately add 2 more cups of flour. Set a timer for 15 minutes and let it stir and then it will knead the dough. During the 15 minutes of stirring/kneading, check the dough for "stickiness"–if it sticks to your hand when you check it–add more flour, a little at a time.
After 15 minutes, shut off mixer and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon in a small bowl.
After 10 minutes, divide dough in half. Pat (one at a time) a half out onto a counter you have sprinkled with a little flour, into a rectangular shape…maybe 6X10 inches. place about a 1/2 teaspoon of water on rectangle and spread all over dough. Then using a spoon, sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the rectangle. Roll the short side (jelly-roll fashion) until it is in a roll. Pinch the seam to seal. Pinch the ends to seal and then tuck them under to the bottom seam–you might have to fuss a little bit to get all of the seams tucked and pinched to seal.
Place seam side down on a greased cookie sheet, or in a regular sized loaf pan. Set to rise in a place– free from drafts but not too warm. When dough has doubled in size on cookie sheet, or when it rises above the sides of the loaf pan, (about 45 minutes but can vary) place in 350F oven and bake until tops are browned and loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.
Place on a cloth lined counter (any lint free cloth will do) and cover with another lint free cloth, then with terry kitchen towels, double thickness to hold in moisture–but to not make the bread soggy. Allow to cool before placing in bags to store.
If you do not have a stand mixer with a dough hook, use a large bowl, follow all steps to add ingredients , but stir by hand until well mixed and then place on a floured counter and knead for ten minutes by hand. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, divide in half and then follow above recipe again.
It is a learned skill–to know how much flour to add–you might have to add more– I add a tablespoon at a time, until dough loses its stickiness.
It is also a learned skill to hear the "hollow" sound 🙂 Just do your best. If you over-bake, there is always cinnamon french toast, bread pudding, or feeding the birds. Lol…I know these things… because… it was acquired knowledge while on my "mission". 😉