County Fair Egg Bread

I’ve used this recipe for so long, I can’t remember when I first made it. It is reliable, fills the house with the heavenly scent of baking bread, and makes three nice loaves – enough for sharing. This time around, I used my new Chicago Metallic mini loaf pans and now I am in love with them. The little loaves baked so evenly and simply tumbled out of the pans when done. The recipe is for 3 loaves, so baking time has to be adjusted when choosing smaller pans. I have never substituted whole wheat flour in this recipe. I prefer to use recipes that are specifically created using whole wheat flour for a better result. For a draft-free place to let the dough rise, I turn the oven on for just a minute of two when beginning the recipe. Also be sure to move the top rack up to allow for the dough to rise to its full glory.
While I was kneading the dough, I thought about how my cooking and baking has evolved over the years. I haven’t used margarine or shortening for decades. Now I use organic flour and hormone-free milk, and eggs that either laid by our hens who are never fed anything containing antibiotics, or I purchase cruelty-free eggs that are also antibiotic-free. I am more aware of our foods origins. We aren’t perfect when it comes to our food selections, but I have been a label reader for years.
Since it’s close to Valentine’s Day, here is a simple something that Tim does to show a little love. He packs much of his lunches for the week ahead. This includes a selection of crunchy fresh vegetables: cherry tomatoes, celery, bell pepper strips, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes, and he always makes some up for me. Now I am much more likely to reach for those prepared crunchy veggies at lunch time, rather than a handful of chips.

Ingredients:
1½ cups scalded milk
½ cup butter, cut up
2 teaspoons salt
½ sugar or honey (if using honey, add a couple tablespoons of flour to compensate for added liquid)
4½ teaspoons yeast (equals 2 packages)
½ cup lukewarm water
3 large eggs, beaten
8 – 9 cups bread flour, sifted

Directions:
Grease a large bowl with butter or coconut oil.
In a mixer bowl, pour scalded milk over butter, salt and sugar or honey. Allow to cool. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, according to package directions. Using dough hook, beat yeast and eggs into milk mixture. Gradually add flour, mixing well after each addition. Use enough to make a light, tender dough. There may be some leftover.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and satiny. Place in prepared bowl, turn to grease top cover and let rise until doubled in size. It will take about 1½ hours.
In the meantime, grease 3 8-inch loaf pans. When dough has risen, punch down, turn out onto lightly floured surface and shape into 3 loaves. Place in pan, cover and rise until dough is slightly rounded and tops pans.
Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature and bake for 35 minutes. Reduce oven temperature and bake for 35 minutes. Cool five minutes on rack before turning loaves out of pans.

            This fragrant bread is tender inside with a slightly crunchy crust. 

           This fragrant bread is tender inside with a slightly crunchy crust. 

 

© 2017 Georgia Kohart