One of the very first things I learned to make when I was married was bread. I love to eat bread. Back in Mexico, as a child, I remember my Abuelita sending me to buy bread from the local bakery. It was always around the same time, 7pm. I will get a little basket and head down the mountain to buy bread from the nearest bakery. She knew that sending me will cost her one or two conchas, but she still sent me. Opening the door to the bakery sent my mouth watering and the moment I touched one of the conchitas, I knew that I had to eat one. As the baker was filling up my order, I was filling up my tummy! On the way up to the house, I would eat another one. By the time I got home, I was satisfied and I didn't want supper anymore. Grandma always shook her head and Grandpa will just laugh. Bread has always been close to my heart, I could stop eating lots of stuff, but I could never stop eating bread. I love it. It makes me smile. It brings back many cherished memories.
Now as an adult, I hope to make memories for my kids when I make bread. I hope that when they grow older and they smell the bread baking that it will take them back to their childhood and the time we spent together.
Let's make bread together, here is the recipe, you are going to give it about 3 hours of your time, but you can definitely do stuff in between. You can run errands while it is rising and even while it bakes, you can be doing some chores. It takes a long time, but it is definitely not difficult to make.
Grandma Phelps Bread Recipe:
You are going to need the following:
- 3 Tablespoons of Yeast
- 2 Tablespoons of Salt
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of vegetable oil
- 8 cups of warm water (not too hot, not too cold)
- About 20 cups of white flour
Yields: 8 loaves of bread
Baked at: 350 F degrees
I have an old fashioned bread mixer. I love it. My Father-in-Law gave it to me as a wedding present and it is one of my most cherised items in my kitchen. You can often find them at garage sales or on eBay. It is great to have around as it run on the only energy power that is for sure to be around in a catastrophe--your own hand power. If you do not have one of these, simply get a big bowl or a clean bucket (buy one just for this purpose).
1. Pour 4 cups of water in the mixer (great big bowl), 3 tablespoons of yeast. Let it form. It will be foamy and the water will look a bit brownish.
2. Add the following: remainder 4 cups of water, sugar, salt, oil. Mix it.
3. Add the flour, a few cups at a time and mix. The last few cups you add the mixing is going to be a little difficult, put some muscle into it. The dough should not be sticky and shiny. Once all the 20 cups have been added. Let it sit and rest for about 1 hour. The dough should double in size.
4. Spray the pans with oil (I use Pam). Oil your hands (I use vegatable oil), you will need to oil your hands after every other loaf. If you do not oil your hands, the dough will stick to your hands. Grab some dough, about two fists worth and form it into an elongated ball, folding it down into a nice oval. Place it in the pan. Do the other ones. If you find it easier, you can divide all the dough into 8 balls and then shape it.
5. Let it rise in the pans for another hour or until it doubles in size.
6. Bake it at 350F for about 40 minutes or until tops are golden.
7. Take them out of the pans immediately so the bottom doesn't get soggy. Let them cool off on the counter, place a linen under them so it absorbs the moisture.
I freeze some of the loaves and take them out as needed. It only takes about 1/2 day for them to thaw. Make a batch and you have bread for about 1 or 2 weeks.
Have little ones? Make it fun for them and get some little loaf pans and they can help make it too. They can make their own little loaves! My little ones love to make their little loaves of bread.