Recipe for “The Bread of Love” – You Knead This

Hello Trick-or-Treaters!

When the dark evenings begin to appear earlier, I often think of two mighty forces of nature: soup and bread.

Let’s focus on the latter.

What is it about fresh, hot bread right out of the oven that turns our brains into, well, soup?  And makes our hearts melt like the butter we slather on it?

I don’t know.  But I don’t knead to know.  I knead to feel the bready love.  And I have a recipe that will throw you into bready ecstasy.  You’ll find yourselves kneading it every day.  It’s good for any time of the year, but it’s especially wondrous in the autumn and winter months.

I call it “The Bread of Love.” And because it is “The Bread of Love,” I will lovingly share the recipe for this love ... because I love you!

It's a recipe my mom found in the LA Times years and years ago that I adapted for whole wheat bread. It's practically fool-proof. Even if you don't get the best floofiness out of the yeast, it always turns out just fine once you bake it. Love.

It produces a lot of bread. It produces a lot of love.

 

THE BREAD OF LOVE

2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
2 1/2 cups hot water
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk (EVAPORATED ... not sweetened condensed)
1/3 cup oil (I use canola)
2 tablespoons salt
about 12 cups of whole wheat flour

 

HONEY-CINNAMON-BUTTER

honey
cinnamon
butter (must be REAL butter ... margarine is false love)
little itty bit of salt

(Mix together whatever amounts you wish. Love in varying degrees!)

 

CREATING THE LOVE

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a small cereal bowl (use a fork to help the dissolving process). In another cereal bowl, break up the eggs with a fork.

In a very, very large bowl, dissolve the honey in the hot water. (Tip: line the 1/3 cup measurer with a bit of oil so the honey slides out easily.)

Add the milk, oil, eggs, salt, and yeast to the honey-water and stir together.

The elevation and humidity of where you are will determine how much flour you need. I've found that in Utah I need about 11 cups of flour total. In California it's all 12.

Add about 6 cups of the flour and stir. Add the rest of the flour and knead it in. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. If it's too dry, add a little milk. Knead about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once it's in a relatively cohesive mass, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise 1 and 1/2 hours. (If it's a cold day, I'll let it rise in a 100˚ oven.) Then punch it down. Then let it rise another hour.

At this point you can shape it into traditional loaves, or you can do the "snakey-braidy" thing like I usually do. Divide the dough into six equal parts and squeeze into long "snakes." On a greased pan, take three of the "snakes" and braid together. Do the same thing on another pan.

Let these rise for yet another hour.

Gas ovens cook rapidly. The newer models of electric ovens are pretty fast, too, so watch your bread carefully. Cook in a preheated 350˚ oven anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes, depending on your oven.

It should be a little golden on top. I usually gently ever-so-slightly pull apart at a "braid crease" and see if the the dough is fully cooked.

Overcooking decreases the "love," in my opinion, so just watch it carefully and you'll be fine!

When you pull it out, while it's still smokin' hot, slather the top with butter.

Serve with honey-cinnamon-butter and feel the love! Don't bother with a knife. Just pull it apart. Mmmmmmm! LOVE!!!