Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Bread Day

(Google Image) 

By Chef Diane

One of my father's favorite sayings is, "It's the best thing since sliced bread!"  Before bread was sold sliced, it was purchased in solid loaves.  So...I decided during my younger homemaker period, that I would make fresh bread in loaves.  In the 90's a big fad was the "friendship" bread, or sourdough bread, or potato bread.  It starts with a liquid "starter" it has to ferment, and then you add to it, and put it in a jar and share it with others.  Hence the name - Friendship bread.  Well, this recipe takes 3 days to bake and it makes 3 loaves, but it is absolutely delicious.  Since you had to "feed" the starter every week, I would bake the bread every week.  The first loaf that came out of the oven was consumed immediately.  If you have ever had the opportunity to smell bread baking, then you will understand why the first loaf disappeared immediately.  The other two loaves were either shared or frozen for meals during the rest of the week. I continued baking the bread every week for a few months, until our clothes stopped fitting, then I stopped baking.  Apparently this bread made such an impression on my son, that when he was away at college, he asked for the recipe, and made it at school for his dorm friends.

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These days they have a bread machine, I have never tried one, but seems like that is cheating in a way.  But there are all kinds of different breads to bake, that don't require all the kneading and rising.  One bread that I bake alot is banana nut bread.  To me that is more like a cake, but many slice it, toast it, and eat it for breakfast as well as a dessert.  Another bread is cornbread, and it is readily found in many restaurants here in the south.  My father is a member of an organization called the Rotary Club.  They hold meetings each week where they have lunch before it starts.  The chef of the restaurant where the meeting is held is from the north, and is not familiar with the southern rules of cornbread with greens, so, frequently my father comes home and complains that there was no cornbread on the buffet.

A friend of mine recently went to a home party where they sold food spices, mixes and dips.  One of the popular items was a beer bread mix.    I had never heard about this, but it made sense to me, since beer is made with yeast, that it would be good for using in a bread recipe too.  i figured if there was a mix for this bread, that maybe I could find a recipe as well, so I Googled it, and found this simple recipe on recipe.com:

BEER BREAD

Ingredients:
3 cups flour (sifted)
3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can beer
1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients and beer.
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Pour melted butter over mixture.
Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.

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Today is Homemade Bread Day.  It's your chance to get into the kitchen and bake something delicious and nutritious for you and your family or friends.  Below is a simple recipe for you to try since it is Fall, and there are plenty of sweet potatoes available.  This recipe comes from a friend of mine who bakes many loaves during this time of year to share with friends and neighbors.  So give this recipe a try, or bake up one of your favorite breads, and celebrate homemade bread day.

SWEET POTATO BREAD

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)


Directions:
  • Mix all ingredients and bake in loaf pans at 350 for one hour.


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