Guest Post: How to make perfect Amish White Bread

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As some of you know, I have an interesting relationship with baking with yeast. Sometimes I even turn French Bread into paddles. Not good.

Recently reader Amanda approached me and asked if she could share how she makes bread easily. Um, yes, Amanda…PLEASE do!!

What encouraged me most of all? Amanda sent some photos of how she improved her bread-making technique.

Here’s her first attempt:

And after a little practice:

And after lots of practice. Can’t you totally see how she’s improved? I am totally impressed!

And these are the tools she uses:

And here’s Amanda’s notes and recipe:

I use a stand mixer and knead my dough by hand. If you do not have a stand mixer (and they are quite expensive), you can use a handheld mixer with whisk and dough hook attachments and a large bowl (and some patience, as it is a little more difficult that way-I invested in my mixer last month when our Permanent Fund Dividends came and it’s been worth every penny).

Amish White Bread

  • 2 cups warm water (110 deg F, I use a meat thermometer to check the temp)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast (Fleischmanns jar, just make sure it isn’t the instant-rise kind)
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cups of bread flour (I use all purpose flour and it works well also; I start with all 5 cups because I haven’t really measured the exact amount that goes into the dough; see step 3)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then stir in yeast. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5-6 minutes (it will resemble a creamy foam).

2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast mixture.

3. Mix in flour, one cup at a time. (I start with the whisk attachment because it will mix the flour in better. Once the mixture gets thick, I switch to the dough hook. Trust me when I say trying to mix all the way with the whisk will cause you nothing but headache!) When the dough hook “catches” the dough and forms a ball that doesn’t stick much to the side of the bowl, that’s a sign that you’ve added enough flour. It’s usually roughly 4.5 cups for me and I use the left over 1/2 cup to flour my kneading surface.

4. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and form into a large ball (when you are done mixing, the dough will be a little sticky, so it’ll be a good idea to just flour your hands as well. When done with this step, leave the floury surface if you can, you’ll need it again.)

5. Place in a well oiled bowl (coat the bottom, doesnt take much), turn to coat dough. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. (The recipe says for an hour, but I’ve found it takes about an hour and a half to get a good rise at room temperature.)

6. After it has risen, punch dough down. Knead again on your floured surface, adding a bit more flour if needed because you will need to soak up the oil. (I split my dough in half at this point because this recipe yields 2 loaves, and smaller balls of dough are easier to work with.)

7. Shape into loaves and place into 2 well greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. (The best way to grease the pans is to take a dab of shortening to each inside surface and rub into the pan until it’s a light coating on the inside and top handles/rim of pan that bread might touch-found that one out the hard way too lol.)

8. Allow to rise for about 45 min, or until the dough has risen to about 1 inch above pans-metal meatloaf pans work best (this is also a great time to heat the oven, and set the pans on the stove top, as the heat will allow for a slightly quicker rise time. Be sure to check on it every now and then, otherwise you might end up with gargantuan bread that has lots of air pockets!)

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.

10. Cool on a wire rack or cookie sheet for about 2-3 hours (if you can resist slicing right into it *I highly advise waiting for it to cool if you don’t want it to fall apart), then cut into slices with a serrated knife. I use Fred Meyer’s brand Food & Bread storage bags (perfect size) and leftover twist ties from hot dog bun bags (I have not attempted hot dog buns yet because quite frankly, I’m a little scared to try!)

This recipe courtesy of www.allrecipes.com, but I have tweaked the original a bit! This bread freezes well, if you like to store things for future use like I do! I have also made this dough into rolls (by shaping into balls about the size of a golf ball and baking in a couple casserole dishes) and hamburger buns by brushing butter on top and sprinkling with sesame seeds (bulk spice that is not very expensive for a regular spice jar’s worth!). It will beat out any hamburger bun you’ve ever bought.

This process takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish, and can seem very tedious at first. If you have the time (or on a weekend off, day off, etc) I encourage you to try it. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really not as hard as it sounds. My kids love their special “Mom Bread” in their school lunches. I love to cook and experiment with food, especially if there is a way that it’ll help me save money!

Happy Baking,

Amanda Davis

*************

Amanda, thank you so very much for the time and effort you took to share this with me and my readers! I plan on trying your recipe very soon, and you’ve encouraged me to not give up on the pursuit of breadmaking. Thank you!

PS – readers, I would love to feature some of your guest posts on frugal living – perhaps on DIY, cooking/baking, home decor, etc! Please email me at angela @ thecouponproject dot com if you have an idea. 

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: How to make perfect Amish White Bread”

  1. I hope some feedback is welcome!

    This recipe is a lot like my Betty Crocker bread recipe! It is so great for sandwiches and toast! So soft! But an important step that seems to have been left out is shaping the loaf. My cook book lists this as the proper way to do that; Shaping a loaf: roll out flour into an 18×9 inch rectangle onto a lightly floured surface, roll dough up tightly beginning at 9inch side, press with thumbs into roll to seal after each turn, press each end with side of hand to seal, fold ends under loaf.

    Also I brush a bit of melted Smart Balance margarine over the top of the loaves before baking.

    A good tip for keeping your yeast fresh is to store it in the freezer, it will last longer than the expiration date on the yeast. I do use RapidRise yeast instead of the jar yeast, and have had excellent results.

    The Betty Crocker recipe (similar to this one called Traditional White Bread, page 68 in the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Everything you need to know to cook today. ISBN: 0-7645-6079-4) is so easy to alter! The Betty Crocker recipe called for shortening, I used healthier canola oil instead. I added cooked seven grain cereal (whole grain wheat, rye, oats, triticale, barley, brown rice, oat bran and flaxseed) from WinCo (priced recently at .88/lb in bulk section), fresh rosemary. Next I’m going to try adding old fashioned dry oats and use honey instead of white sugar.

    The entire reason I’m wanting to bake my own bread is to save money, but mostly for a better diet. I use whole wheat bread flour from Winco (recently priced at .60/lb), and I want to get away from white sugar because of the processing so I’m going to be using the fresh honey I get at my local farmers market in my next loaf.

    My mother scared me off ever making bread with yeast, so I had been making a quick bread recipe I found online, and added rosemary and sometimes onion. It was excellent, but very crumbly. I’m actually going to use it in my Thanksgiving stuffing.

    Simple Yeast Free Bread Recipe
    Pre-heat oven to 400F or 200C.

    Ingredients
    3 cups whole wheat flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1 tablespoon olive oil (or canola oil)
    2 cups water
    2 or 3 sprigs of Rosemary (leaves pulled off of stem and leaves food processed) – OPTIONAL ADDITION
    1/4 cup White Onion – OPTIONAL ADDITION

    Directions
    1. Combine all dry ingredients and give them a good dry mix to distribute evenly.
    2. Add liquids and mix well. Batter should be thick, almost a “doughy” consistency. Add more flour or water if necessary.
    3. Place the batter in a greased and floured (or use greaseproof paper) 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
    4. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 55 minutes.
    5. Check with a skewer to ensure your loaf is baked right through.
    6. Remove from pan and let the loaf cool for at least 30 minutes.
    7. When it is completely cool, you can start slicing
    Recipe found at https://www.squidoo.com/yeast-free-bread

    Tip with this recipe is to brush butter over the top of the bread before baking so that the crust is softer, otherwise the crust will be too tough.

    Hope you don’t mind my sharing recipes I use, and tips I’ve found and had success with.

  2. I just want to say Thanks for the recipe!! I made it yesterday and it was loved by everyone in the family. It will now be made every week, as I have been trying bread recipes all year to get away from buying it from the store. Thanks Again:)

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