Thursday, October 13, 2011


I love the sound of that. "BREAKING BREAD". It's so homey. So Biblical. So yesterday and today.

I love to bake bread. Now I DO NOT bake all that healthy bread youse keep referring to. Like, pshaw!!!

But I love to bake bread, I love to make sweet breads and sweet rolls, and anything/everything that is really bad for your waistline.

My basic bread recipe is straight from the Betty Crocker cookbook, 1969 Edition:


(big grin here... relate this sad circumstance to the Velveteen Rabbit, okay?)

Bread is easy-peasy. Really. The only constraint is rising time, other than that?  Easy-peasy. Here's what you need for basic bready goodness:

 Dissolve two packages of yeast in 3/4 cup warm water in big mixing bowl.


2 2/3 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons shortening

5 Cups of Flour (I use bread flour like we've talked about before, but regular flour is fine and dandy.)

Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. (usually 3-4 more cups)

If you have a machine with a dough hook, you can knead the dough right in the bowl with your mixer. I LOVE THIS CHOICE.

Dough hook is on left, regular 'beater' paddle on right.
If not, you can turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, table, counter and knead by folding dough up, pushing down, and then making a quarter turn and repeating the process. This gives the dough texture and incorporates a little more flour and elasticity into the bread. I wish there was a similar surgery-free process for my upper arms. they could use more elasticity!

Or less bread. But I digress...

Like usual.

Kneading by hand has the added advantage of releasing pent-up stress and anger. Be tough. The dough is strong. It can handle whatever you dish out, my friends!

If available, small slaves can be pushed into service at any point in time:

Place dough in greased bowl. Flip and turn greased bottom up.

Cover with clean towel (really??? Like I NEEDED to tell you to use a clean towel????) and let rise in a warm place until double. In winter I use the corner of the wood stove area. In summer I use the hood of a car parked in the sun.

Hey. Whatever works.  ;)

Before rising....

After rising... Small aggressive children LOVE THIS STEP!!!
Punch dough down. (More aggression release, Tina, take note!!!)

Divide in two. Roll out one piece on lightly floured surface until it forms a rectangle (kind of) about 18 x 9 inches. Starting at short side, roll up. Tuck ends under and place in a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Rolled out on table... No flour, no muss, no fuss. This is different from pie crust, right???

Repeat with other piece of dough. (When dough is rolled out you can have a little fun by buttering the rectangle and adding cinnamon and sugar and chopped nuts if desired. Or raisins. Be creative. Then roll up as directed, fold ends and place in another 9 x 5 x 3 inch greased loaf pan.

OR:   you could Mediterranean-ize your loaf by coating the rectangle with olive oil, then sprinkling parmesan and asiago cheese over the whole thing, dot with garlic bits or sprinkle with granulated garlic. Rosemary sprinkled over this mixture is BEYOND WONDERFUL.

Then roll up the same way.

Grease top of loaf. Cover (again the clean towel!!!!)  Let rise until double or nearly double. Bake at 425 degrees on LOW OVEN RACK.... The tops of the pans should be in the center of the oven. (mind you, this was before convection ovens... My convection oven bakes it beautifully no matter which rack its on, but if you're using a conventional oven then these directions help loaves to bake/brown evenly.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until loaves sound 'hollow' when tapped. They should be golden brown on top, and light gold on sides.

Remove from oven. Brush loaves with soft butter. The whole loaf, top, sides... This keeps bread soft and deliciously wonderful.  Cool on wire racks, but if you don't SNEAK A PIECE TO EAT WHILE WARM THEN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!!!!

 Warm bread... soft butter.... home-made jam....



  1. The first time I made bread it turned out wonderful, so much so that I blogged about it too! I had 2 Betty's helping me, Betty Crocker and my gram Betty so that's why mine turned out so nice!!!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  2. mmmmm Love that fresh baked bread. It's a staple at our house. My first bread recipe was from the Betty Crocker cookbook, too - my mom's 1950 edition.

    (Can you believe she sold it in a garage sale? I've been trying to find another copy ever since.)

    But nothing says home like fresh bread. Except maybe pie.

  3. Aggression have a lethal weapon in your kitchen. What's with Captain' Hook's tool?

  4. Hey, tools of the trade, my friend!!! SO IMPORTANT!!! ;)

    Jan, I have the earlier edition... The 1950...they did a re-release and I grabbed it up because that's the one my mother had and it has some great recipes in there! LOVE IT!!!!

    Check online, I bought mine about five years ago. It's got to be available somewhere. Reasonably!!!

    Renee, I knew I liked you! Bread divas unite!!

  5. I smell bread - warm, yeasty goodness.Yum!

    Rutty, you reminded me - somewhere I have a recipe for fabulous cinnamon bread. I'll dig it out later and share.

    Off to write before work. Hope you don't mind if I pilfer a slice (or 2).

  6. Renee, I stopped by. Your loaves look yummy!

    Jan, I hate to hear about the cookbook! I have one that's my most used cookbook. Not sure what year mine is, but it's a hand-me-down from my mother as well. Like Ruthy said, check out ebay and Amazon!

    Tina, that does look a little threatening, doesn't it? I just wish I had a stand mixer!

    Mary, help yourself! :)

  7. This is probably when I should admit I haven't made bread in years. And I have a bread maker, so if I ever make it again, I'll probably use that. :)

    I love a heavy, grainy wheat bread like Longhorn Steakhouse serves. Yum!

  8. BTW, I spilled hot coffee in my lap this morning! Not fun. And that was after my son dropped his hot plate of pancakes, and it shattered.

    Maybe I should go back to bed and try again!


  9. I love fresh bread & everything about it.
    It's just simply beyond my skillset. Easy-Peasy NOT!
    Missy will have to come over & bake some for me (she lives closer). I'll trade a pot of chili to go with it, how's that?

  10. Mary, yes!!! Share the recipe! Please, please, please!

    Pam Mason, did I hear a BAWK BAWK BAWK Chicken in that reply????

    It totally is easy peasy... Come see me. I'll show you. You'll be baking it forever and a day after that. Except when it's too stinkin' hot!

  11. Missy....

    A day that starts like that has nowhere to go but up, honey!

    So sorry! (being almost sincere... Almost) ;)

    And I had a bread maker... The dough texture was wrong in the finished product. Kind of gummy...

    But maybe it's different from machine to machine. Let me know, Missy. Once you change your clothes.

  12. Thanks for the reminder to look for the cookbook on ebay - there are several copies listed and a couple that are exactly like my mom's hardcover.

    I know I've looked there before and haven't found anything!

    And bread is on my to-do list today. We're out of the good stuff. (Still have a loaf of the store-bought kind the boys like to use for their sandwiches. Silly boys.)

    We're having Zuppa Toscana (like Olive Garden's) for supper and fresh bread. I can hardly wait!

  13. Thanks for stopping by Missy, the bread tasted as good as it looked if I do say so myself. LOL!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  14. Marji... I love a woman that knows how to mince words, LOL!

  15. Ruthy, after all these years and hundreds of cookbooks, my go-to is still my 1978 Betty Crocker cookbook. It's just hard to beat Betty.
    Not much bread baking going on in the Obenhaus home from May through September. It's just too stinkin' hot in Texas to turn on the oven. However, once the weather turns cooler, there's nothing I love more than fresh-from-the-oven bread.
    Sigh. Once again, I'm getting hungry. Good thing the weatherman's forecasting some chilly nights for next week. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go make sure I have some yeast.

    AKA Mindy Obenhaus. At least Walt got his to take.

  16. Y'all got me curious, so I went to check on my copy of the cookbook. I just realized I've been using a newer edition my sister got me. It's a pink plaid instead of my old red plaid cover. It's a breast cancer awareness (pink ribbon) edition from 2005. Now I'm wondering where my old red one is!

  17. Ruthy!! You got my photo of the cookies to fit at the top of the blog page!! I couldn't adjust it. How did you do that? :)

  18. Thanks for the tips on Artisan bread Ruthy, I'm going to have to give that a try!

    Just since we're all checking my BC cookbook is from 1950! I think it was my Grammy Violet's book. I also have one from the early 80s that my mom got when she was first married.

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  19. Oh're making me feel old! I was married in the early 80s, too. That makes you the same age as my children! (BTW, my 27 yo son is single...)

  20. wow I didn't know they still sold Crisco like that - solid white stuff in the can! me and yeast don't get along so hot - never works for me - I may try the hood of the car in the winter since it's pretty hot down here - hood of a car in the summer would burn the stuff! maybe the dryer but darn then I'd have to do laundry at the same time...ick. wonder if I could toss it in my bread machine(the one I haven't used since getting it from a friend who used it once..she thinks!)


  21. Susanna, I usually put it in the oven with the light on. That seems to be enough heat.

    Look at me talking like I make bread all the time! LOL I should have said that one time when I made bread fifteen years ago, I put it in the oven with the light on. :)

  22. Jan my mom's not old so that makes you "not old" too and I guess you saw my comment a few days ago where I said I was still single. Hahaha

    XOXO~ Renee

  23. Ha Renee! I'm sure you'd get along well with my daughter - she's graduating from college in May - isn't that where you are, too?

    And a warm place to let bread dough rise? The best place is next to the crock pot where dinner is cooking away :). But you don't want to let it get too warm - yeast dies when it gets too hot.

  24. Nope I graduated in 2008, I'm probably a bit older than your daughter.

  25. Oh, Missy, fun FUN post, girl!! Although God knows I won't be baking bread -- or anything else! -- anytime soon. :) I gave up baking (and cooking for the most part) when I started writing. Sigh ... poor Keith because I really wasn't a bad cook. :)


  26. Julie, I wish I could take credit! Ruthy did this post. She's the baker! :) now come back tomorrow and read about a wrap sandwich. :)

  27. Ruthy, you inspired me. Six loaves of bread rising on the counter as we speak, and will be ready in time for supper. MMMMMM.

    I'll blog about it and send you a link -

    And Renee, my dear daughter is a 3rd year senior. I was afraid she was making school her career! She was born in 88.

  28. Jan, your daughter must be right between mine, I have one born in 87 and one born in 89.

    Ruthy, I found the cinnamon bread recipe. It's from a cookbook a friend wrote called The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook.

    Funny story - years ago my friend who lives in Manhattan, bought a summer house out on Long Island. The house came with a huge industrial strength stove. She decided a stove that fancy deserved someone who knew how to use it so she signed up for cooking lessons. Ultimately, she wrote this cookbook with the woman who had given her lessons. Lots of terrific recipes.

    I scanned the pages and posted them on my blog rather than type it all out. It really is delicious - as you'll be able to tell from the well-worn and stained pages.

  29. Ooops - forgot the link -

  30. Oh my stars, I'm lovin' partyin' in two spots!!! It's like crashing the wedding reception next door, isn't it????

    My 1950 edition is the red plaid cover and it's pristine because it's NEW... I was so excited when they did that, and I think I stumbled on it in a Sunday Paper glossy ad...

    My mother's (which she didn't use in my time... She became an alcoholic after I was born, so before I came along she actually cooked... baked... and got involved in things. Isn't it funny how the upper end of the family got a whold different dynamic than the younger part?)

    Anyway, she gave that cookbook to my brother... so when I saw they were re-issuing it I grabbed on. And I love the old-fashioned feel to the recipes.

    But I love my more modern spiral cover too. I bought one for me, and for my oldest four kids about ten years back. It's filled with quick tips and great recipes that weren't around fifty years ago.

    Between the three books, I'm pretty covered!





    Mince meat with meat. ;)

    Oh. I could have a little fun, for certain!

  31. Ruthy~ I love your mixer. How big is that bowl? I got a KitchenAid for Christmas a couple of years ago. My 4 year old calls it the "cookie maker."

  32. Andrea, I love that. 4 yr olds know what matters!

  33. Missy there's a light in the oven? haven't used mine in a looonng time - I store stuff in it and use mylittle toaster oven and still burn stuff in that. :-(
    I have an old cookbook(yep can't cook worth a darn but I love cookbooks and recipes!) and it says #2 can of this and #3 can of that, lard, and something else I can't remember but it's some kind of grease I think my mom said. fun reading it for sure!

  34. Ruth, if God intended this child of His to bake bread, He wouldn't have given me Pepperidge Farm!I just threw out a breadmaker I broke.
    Who breaks a breadmaker???
    Come on... gimme something easy, like soup!

  35. Oh wow I didn't know they reprinted the 1950s book. That's cool. I don't think mine is the reprint though since it looks pretty darn old!

  36. My Betty Crocker is the 1978 version. When my girls married 7-8 years ago I knew they needed BC. There were so many new cool recipes I bought myself a new one, too. But mostly I use my old one. (It looks more 'battered' than Ruthy's.)

    The oven light works perfectly for rising bread. I've baked 4 loaves a week for most of the past 30+ years. Around here it's the healthy stuff, though, starting with grain grown on our neighbor's farm. We love seedy whole-wheat bread!

  37. Valerie, a woman after my own heart!! :)

    You know, there used to be a this restaurant in Atlanta (not sure if it's still there) where they baked seedy, heavy bread in small clay flower pots and brought it to the table like that! So yummy! I'll have to see if I can find that place to see if it's still there. It was on Peachtree St. Anyone know?? I can't remember the name!