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Homemade bread, a favorite from the past

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It was a common practice years ago to make bread completely from scratch. Nobody ever thought anything about buying bread back in those days! It was very common to have biscuits, cornbread or some type of bread at every meal of the day. I've often heard stories from others that have said that biscuits were made and served in their homes three times a day!

Yeast bread has always been a favorite for ages and still is today. The bread machine and dough hooks now equipped on heavy-duty electric mixers have made making bread at home much faster and easier than it was years ago. Some purists still like to knead and work the dough by hand. For some, the kneading action is a great way to get rid of stress! It's also good exercise, too.

I'm passing along a recipe for "Erna's Homemade Bread". This is a recipe I got from Maria Baker, who included it in a cookbook she wrote called, "Yes, You May Have the Recipe". She got this recipe from Erna Bandlow, who was a friend and neighbor to Maria for many years. She stated in the recipe that "warm and crusty right out of the oven with butter and a thin slice of Muenster cheese was indeed heaven." I would say she's correct on this, for this bread is great served this way!

This is a recipe that makes 3 loaves. It's a richly-flavored bread that uses evaporated milk. You will need a bowl large enough to allow for the rising cycle, so make sure to have one handy. This calls for 8-10 minutes of kneading, which you can do either by hand or by using the dough hook of your electric mixer. Make certain to follow the directions provided with your mixer in using a recipe this size. Most all mixers with dough hooks state a limit of how much flour is the maximum limit that the unit can handle, which should be followed carefully. Also, be certain to observe how long to knead the dough according to the machine being used. Using more than the limited amount of flour or kneading too long can result in a ruined recipe, a damaged machine or both.

Once made, the bread can be frozen, if well wrapped. I like to use two thicknesses of heavy-duty aluminum foil when freezing bread. Then whenever you're ready for a loaf, you can remove it from the freezer and thaw it at room temperature, which it does rather quickly. This bread makes great toast and wonderful sandwiches!

If you're partial to whole wheat bread, I shared a recipe sometime ago for a recipe easy enough for a beginner to make. To get this recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/whole-wheat-bread-for-beginners

If you've never made homemade bread before, you have a real treat in store! If you're an experienced baker, here's a great recipe to add to your files!

ERNA'S HOMEMADE BREAD

1 cup evaporated milk
3 cups lukewarm water
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 envelopes dry yeast
10 cups unbleached flour

Dissolve the yeast in a small amount of the lukewarm water. Add the sugar, salt, milk, the remaining water and the oil to the yeast. Add 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth (this can by done with a heavy-duty mixer.) Work in 3-4 cups more of the flour. Dough will be sticky and rough looking. Turn out onto a floured board and knead, adding more flour until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. If using a dough hook, follow the manufacturer's directions for kneading, adding the remaining flour as necessary to form a dough that masses around the hook. Form into a ball and place in large greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with a cloth. Let rise until double in size, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into thirds and shape into three loaves. Place each portion into a greased 9x5 inch pan. Brush the tops with melted butter. Cover with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, checking after 30 minutes. It should be about an inch above the top of the pan. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour or when bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on cooling racks. Yield: 3 loaves

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