In the last 18 months I think I have bought bread two or three times. I just really love making bread. I love putting the ingredients together, I love kneading it, I love the smell and I love eating it. My mom used to make bread when I was little and for some reason it is now a comfort thing for me. I feel like even though we are 2500 miles apart, we're still connected through little things like bread and canning fruits and vegetables. I sort of feel like a country girl in a big city and that is really who I am. I love living in the city but I also love doing things like making jam, canning fruit and scrubbing my floors by hand.
Over the last year and a half, I have tried 4-5 different bread recipes and this one is my favorite. It is from my friend Melissa, in Chicago who's dad has been making this bread for years. I love that there isn't a lot of sugar. I substitute the oil for applesauce and I love that it is able to handle it. In fact, I substitute oil for applesauce in ALL of my baking. It works, I promise. I like the slightly higher salt level in the bread too. It makes 4 perfect loaves for me and sometimes I have a little extra to make rolls.
5 c. Water or Milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
5 c. flour (I use white whole wheat from Trader Joe's)
2/3 c. oil / melted shortening / applesauce
3 TBSP yeast
1 to 1.5 TBSP salt
8 c. flour (will vary)
Put your water (or milk) in the mixer bowl. Add sugar & lemon juice. Mix in 5 c. of flour. Add the egg, oil and yeast. Add remaining flour until dough pulls away from the bowl. Let sit for about 7 minutes. Mix in salt and knead. Form loaves. Let rise and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
When your bread gets out of the oven, take it out of the pan and baste the top and sided with melted butter. This will prevent them from getting crusty.