My friend Kim, aka Red, shred this recipe with me. I keep calling this “Red’s Bread,” because even though it’s an old recipe, she’s the one that introduced it to me! (Besides, I love the way it rolls off my tongue–I think Kim should have her own bread company and name it “Red’s Bread”, don’t you? ) I love trying old recipes, and this one was not only easy, but delicious. I never thought I could turn out a decent loaf of bread that I actually kneaded myself, but I did it! Woo-hoo! My husband is in heaven right now (he’s already eaten half a loaf!) and keeps staring at me with these gushy lovey eyes like I’m some sort of goddess. I wonder if fresh bread does this to all men or if it’s just a quirk of his? In any case, I think I’ll be making this bread a LOT! :)
From 1963 Good Housekeeping Cookbook
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg. (2 1/4 t) active dry yeast
About 6 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Scald milk; stir in sugar, salt and margarine. Cool to lukewarm. Measure warm water into large bowl; sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make ta soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 min. Form into smooth ball. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hr.
Punch down dough. Let rest 15 min. Then divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf in a greased 9x5x3 bread pan. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hr.
Bake at 400 degrees F, about 30 min, or until done. Makes 2 loaves.
Many older recipes instruct you to scald milk. That is, to bring it nearly to a boil (185°F, 85°C, or more), preferably in a thick-bottomed pan, and stirring actively, to keep a protein skin from forming on the surface and keep the proteins and sugar from sticking to the bottom. Scalding served two purposes, to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes. Pasteurization, however, accomplishes both of those goals, and since almost all store-bought milk in Western countries is pasteurized these days, scalding is essentially an unnecessary step. Therefore, I merely heated the milk with the butter, sugar & salt until the butter was melted and then I cooled it until it was just warm but not hot.
Also, I used rapid rise/instant yeast. If you are also using instant yeast, here is my method for this bread that you can follow–it cuts down on the prep time by a full hour.
Mix 3 cups flour with the yeast in a large bowl, then pour in the warm water and cooled milk mixture until blended. Follow the rest of the directions up until the point when you have kneaded the bread for 8-10 minutes. You will skip the first rising since instant yeast makes this step unnecessary. Divide the dough in half, form into loaves, and put it into the greased loaf pans. Follow the second rising and baking directions. I turned my loaves out of the pan as soon as they were done and brushed them with melted butter. Divine!