A few days ago I mentioned cooking pasta fagioli as a way of helping the holiday gift buying budget.
If you clicked on the link and went to the post you noticed I wrote:
Would I make Pasta Fagioli again?
It's a basic item at my house.
Even when it's not tax time.
A loaf of crusty Italian bread goes well with it.
After eating all those carbs, who could be nervous?
Bread is a funny thing.
Buy a loaf and it’s just bread.
Bake it and you’re suddenly Mother Walton.
Which is a charming thing to be at this time of year.
Maltese food wasn’t as popular as Italian food in New York.
If Ma wanted a taste of home, she had to bake her own Hobz, Maltese Bread.
Sometimes she also baked Crusty Italian Bread.
Both are great and add a certain oomph to a meal.
Don’t be put off by the idea of making four loaves at one time.
Homemade bread is a treat.
With butter or jam, it’s as good as any cake.
Believe me, it won’t last long enough to go stale.
A neighbour once gave Ma her recipe for bread.
It was a basic white bread recipe.
Ma called it American bread.
Well, the neighbour was an American, so it made sense.
While kneading the dough, dip your hands in water to give the
dough a smooth elastic finish.
To give your bread more volume add lemon juice or white vinegar:
1 Tablespoon for every 4 to 5 Cups of flour.
For variety you can substitute for equal portions of all purpose flour:
1 to 3 Cups whole wheat flour
1 to 2 Cups dark rye flour
1 Cup oatmeal
Basic White Bread
Makes 4 loaves
grease four 4 1/2” x 8 1/2” loaf pans
preheat oven to 375º
bake 40 minutes
In a large mixer bowl place
1/2 Cup warm water (about 110º F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
Let stand about 10 minutes, then stir.
3 1/2 Cups warm water
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons salt
Stir to combine ingredients.
4 1/2 Cups flour
Mix until a soft dough is formed.
5 to 6 Cups flour, more or less, to make a workable dough.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Knead until it is very smooth, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl.
Turn to cover top surfaces with oil.
Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled.
Punch down the dough and cut it into 4 even pieces.
Cover and let rest 20 minutes.
Form into loaves and place in greased pans.
Brush the tops with oil.
Cover and let rise 50 minutes.
Bake 40 minutes, or until bread tests done and is golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes.
Remove from pans.