Friday, July 15, 2011

Mom's Homemade White Bread

    I love visiting with my parents. Since I was a small child, one of my fondest memories have been waking up in the morning to the delicious smell of my mothers homemade bread baking in the oven. I can always remember having soft and fluffy, homemade sandwich loaf available to me whenever I wanted it.
    I am visiting with my parents, and lucky for me, my mother decided to make a batch of her Homemade White Bread. I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you a "recipe" that is somewhat of a tradition in my family, as well as countless other Newfoundland families.
    Growing up in small town Newfoundland, there are certain things that I thought were normal. Watching somebody making bread once or twice a month was a very common part of my life. I figured mother's everywhere made bread for their families.That is until I reached adulthood, moved out of my parents nest, and started a family of my own. Then I realised it wasn't as common as I had thought. I never make bread, and I cannot think of anyone I know that does it as religiously as my mother and the women of her generation, and the generations before her. Is it becoming a lost art?
    My mother doesn't use a recipe, but I asked her to write out step by step instructions for making her version of Homemade White Bread. Enjoy!

Mom's Homemade White Bread/ Sandwich Loaf:

7 lb. bag white flour
1 tsp. salt
2(8 gram) packages of quick rise instant yeast
8 cups warm water (about 105 degrees F)
1/4 cup shortening (Fluffo, Sno'Flake, Crisco etc.)
1/2 tsp. white sugar

You will also need 8 standard sized loaf pans.

(1) Pour the warm water into a large plastic bin. (You can purchase these bin's at the dollar store. They are often used for storage, or as wash basin's)
(2) Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar. Let the yeast activate and rise for about 10 minutes.



(3) Stir the yeast mixture.
(4) Add the shortening to the water.
(5) Add half the flour and salt. Combine using your hands. Blend it together with the shortening. Add the remainder of the flour in batches so you don't add too much, and continue kneading together until it has a smooth texture. (If the dough seems wet, add more flour).

(6) Lay out dough onto a clean surface. Remove any leftover flour from the pan, and discard. Place back into the pan.

(8) Place dough in a warm place. Cover with a few warm blankets, or something of that sort you feel comfortable using.

My mother places her bread on a couple of chairs,
in front of a heater. If the house is a little chilly,
she turns up the heat, and lets the heater do the
work. The rate at which your dough rises, is directly
influenced by how warm it's environment is.

(9) Let rise for 3-4 hours.


(10) Once the dough has finished rising, beat it down. Knead it 3 or 4 more times, and begin making it into loaves by breaking it down into smaller sections.

Breaking off bun sized pieces.

Using your hands, manipulate the dough to form
a smooth ball. Place into a loaf pan. 

(11) Each standard sized loaf pan should contain 2 or 3 buns. Continue until all pans are full and all the dough is used.
(12) Next let the dough rise a second time. Place the dough back into a warm place and cover with  blankets.


All ready for the oven.

(13) Once the dough has reached it's desired height, place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes.
Cooling on a wire rack.

(14) When the bread has finished baking, using a plastic baggie, spread a very thin layer of butter over the loaves. This will prevent the crusts from flaking.
(15) Once the bread has completely cooled, place them in freezer bags and freeze them for later use.

It's like a delicious fluffy cloud...
    In Newfoundland, bread making day is very special. The reason being, is because we get to indulge in a couple of special treats:

    The first is a little something we like to refer to as a Touton aka. Tiffen. A wonderfully delicious  Newfoundland tradition.

    If ever there is any leftover bread dough, we form it into pancakes and fry it up in a hot oiled pan until it becomes a wonderful golden brown and rises like a pillow. Once cooked we drizzle it with molasses, syrup or sometimes honey. In my opinion the syrup is the best, but use whatever you like.

    Next, what we like to do (or at least my family does), is take a slice of the freshly baked and still warm bread, and spread a thin layer of butter or margarine on top. Next spread a thin layer of molasses. Seriously, once you eat it, you'll be in bread heaven. So Good!

Pairs well with:
Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam
Old Fashioned Rasberry Jam

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