I know that bread is a loaded word these days. My family does not seem to have a hard time with gluten, but I often avoid even mentioning the word gluten in public, for fear of what I might stir up. It’s a tricky and sometimes exhausting topic. I have read many books and articles, trying to figure out what is evil and what is not, in the carb world. I have tried my hand at new kinds of bread- sprouted grain, soaked oat breads, home made sourdoughs- all in an effort to eat less white flour and avoid chemicals. I grind most of my own flour. We’ve tried going without bread entirely, but I am a carb kind of girl- especially when I am pregnant. And when I want comfort food- keep your chocolate and your ice cream- I am looking for a thick slice of warm bread with lots of butter on it.
Today was definitely a comfort food kind of day. My house, undergoing a huge surge of nesting instinct, is currently all topsy turvy. Closets are emptied out- bags of give away clothes and trash keep multiplying. Every time I pull something out of the back of a cupboard, the boys seem to be full of fond memories for it and fight me tooth and nail either to play with it or keep me from tossing it. I am shifting all the winter clothes out to make room for summer, but winter keeps coming back! There are snow flakes and white cherry blossoms dancing all over my yard as I speak, and I can’t straighten my house out until the seasons straighten themselves out.
So whenever I feel my life is going to pieces, I head to the kitchen. Baking is my stress relief, and recipes that can be trusted are a link to sanity. No hunting the internet for something new and exciting- it’s time for my worn out, trusty old cookbooks. Books like my old church cookbook-
And recipes like this- an old classic from my Auntie Frances that I hadn’t made for many years, but had fond memories of. As far as bread recipes go- it’s a very easy one- no kneading required.
You will notice that not only does this recipe contain plenty of white flour and sugar- it also contains two sticks of butter. So if you need to jump ship here, go ahead. I am going recklessly on.
I was struck with the monochromatic ingredients of this recipe, combined with the white countertop, but it seemed to fit my mood, so I left my rainbow colored spoons out of the picture and went with white on white.
I have altered the ingredients and the process of making this bread slightly, so I will walk you through it.
Start proofing 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) of dry yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water. It needs to get nice and foamy.
Melt one stick of butter in a large bowl.
Add 1 cup of milk and two eggs.
and 1/4 cup of sugar. (I cut the sugar content in half- that counts for something, right?)
Stir all that together.
Now add three cups of all purpose flour and 1 tsp. of salt.
Your yeast should be foamy by now, so go ahead and add that too.
Stir it all together until you have a very wet, sticky mass.
That’s it! Now cover it up and let it rise in a warm place, about an hour. You can also put this in the fridge and it will keep for several days until you are ready to use it.
After an hour, it will look nice and puffy. Just stir it all down again and turn on your oven to 350.
Now comes the fabulous part. I hope you haven’t forgotten about that second stick of butter, because it needs to go in a 9×13 pan. Stick it in your preheating oven until it is all melted.
Once it’s melted, take your very sticky dough and plop it in big spoonfuls, as evenly as you can, over the butter.
Then it needs to rise again- only about twenty minutes, till it starts to get puffy again.
Then into the oven for about 30 minutes. It should be nice and golden on the top when you pull it out.
As a side note, the first time I made this for my hubby, he was elated because he thought I had finally figured out how to make brioche the way he remembers eating it as a child in France. This isn’t really like other brioche recipes that I have tried (except for the butter content) but apparently it’s a pretty close match to the real thing. So next time the hubby asks me to recreate a childhood recipe, I guess I’ll just keep adding butter until I get it right.
Either way I can’t describe to you the amazing buttery, yeasty smell that will permeate your house when you make this, and it will lift your mood instantly.
I was so cheered up, I used a bright blue plate to serve it!
No need to serve it with butter, but jam isn’t half bad.
And now I can tackle the pile of shoes in my bedroom with renewed vigor!