Baby it’s cold outside! I don’t know about you but I am tired of winter. This year has been especially cold and harsh for those who live in the Eastern United States, even the Southern states. I grew up in Ohio and lived through many a cold winter. I escaped northern winters 6 years ago when a job transfer sent my whole family to middle Georgia. But, this year it’s even cold here. My husband isn’t happy! When it’s cold outside I like to bake. So, I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen these days near the warm ovens. If it’s cold outside my family has come to expect me to have baked goods or at least homemade bread always available. They know my habits!
Even if you have a very busy schedule you can effortlessly make a good loaf of bread. My Buttermilk Maple White Sandwich Bread is my favorite quick and easy bread recipe. This recipe makes 1 standard loaf or 1 dozen rolls. This bread can be used as everyday bread or for special occasions. It is easy to make and quickly disappears! The whole house smells heavenly too! My family loves it as a snack with butter or for sandwiches or toast. It also makes delicious dinner rolls. The rolls are now a Thanksgiving Day tradition at my house. This recipe calls for mixing and kneading the bread up in a Bread Machine. But this dough is quite forgiving and can be also mixed in a Stand Mixer, or by hand.
Buttermilk Maple White Sandwich Bread
2 ½ teaspoons of active dry yeast, preferable SAF Instant (not rapid rise)
1 cup room temperature Buttermilk
2 Tablespoons room temperature butter
3 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Mixing with Bread Machine Place buttermilk, yeast, maple syrup, and butter into bread machine. Then add the flour and salt (or follow bread machine manufacturer’s directions). Set the bread machine for White Bread Dough Cycle and press Start. After about 5 minutes of mixing look in your machine and check the consistency of the dough. If, after a few minutes of kneading the dough isn’t forming into a ball add a few tablespoons of water. If instead the dough is still sticky or watery add a little more flour. At this point you can choose to bake the loaf in the machine according to manufacturer’s directions for White Bread or continue the dough cycle and shape the loaf yourself and bake the loaf in a conventional oven.
Shaping and Second Rise Butter or spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. When the dough cycle is complete turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands pat the dough into a large rectangle approximately roughly a 9 by 11 shape. Starting at the top of the short side fold the dough 2/3 way down the rectangle then fold it again so the top edge meets the bottom edge. Seal the seam by pinching it together along the bottom edge. Turn the loaf so that the seam is in the center of the roll, facing up, and turn the ends of the roll in just enough so that they will fit into the 9 by 5 loaf pan. Pinch all seams to seal. Now place the loaf in the buttered pan with seam side down. Now cover the loaf with a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm place (75 to 80° F) until doubled in size (approximately 45 to 60 minutes). The loaf should rise above the top of the pan. While the bread is rising, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425° F.
If you prefer rolls turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to gently deflate the dough and stretch it into a 9 by 12 rectangle. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a tight ball. Place each ball onto a parchment lined cookie sheet spaced 1 to 2 inches apart or into a greased muffin pan. Cover pan with a damp towel and allow them to rise in a warm location until doubled in size (approximately 20-30 minutes). Note: If you prefer a softer crust place the rolls in a smaller pan with rolls closer together or touching.
Baking the Bread Place the loaf pan into the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375° F, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and an instant read thermometer placed in the center of the loaf reads 200° F. Remove bread from the oven and gently dump out of pan onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.
If you want a darker crust you can remove the loaf from the pan for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Enjoy the bread and try to stay warm. They say Spring will be here soon. Sure! I’ll believe it when I feel it!