Monday, January 17, 2011
Grandma's sweet white bread
Oh, those old recipe books...They are the best and they bring the most memories.
When I came to Canada, many many years ago, I brought a few things with me. Among love letter, old diaries and pictures, I brought as many books as I could. I still have them all 'till this day. Yesterday, I took one of my cookbooks from the shelf right by the kitchen and started flipping through pages. It was first published in 1980, in Lithuania, and was called "Grandmother's feast" (Mociutes vaises). I found an appealing recipe, that called for simple ingredients and seemed easy to make. The result was divine! The aroma was floating in the house and everybody was anxious to see what will come out of the oven. Even I was impressed.
With this recipe, the loaf will come out medium size. The ingredients can be easily doubled, which I will do next time. It is my favorite sweet bread recipe at the time. I made many different, but similar breads, yet this one is the softest, the fluffy(est) one ever. The recipe called for poppy seeds, I put raisins. I should of just put both. Next time.
You will need:
About two cups of sifted flour
2 tsp of dry east
2 egg yolks
1/4 of a cup of sugar
100 gr of butter, unsalted
3/4 of a cup of raisins
1/4 cup poppy seed (optional)
1 cup of warm milk
1 tsp salt
First step. Take a big mixing bowl, add half of the sugar, east and warm milk. Mix well until east is dissolved. Then add half of the flour. Mix, cover with plastic and let stand for 2 hours in a warm place.
Step two. Your dough will have risen quite a lot. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Beat egg yolks with the mixer with remaining sugar, to get almost white substance. Melt butter (make sure is not hot, just barely warm). Add both, the eggs and the butter, into the dough. Mix. Add the raisins (poppy seed if using). Then add the remaining flour and salt. Add the flower slowly, you may not need the whole cup. Kneed well on the counter with your hands.
Take a bowl, lightly oil it, and put your dough into it. Let stand and rise for another hour or so, until it will rise nicely. Transfer on the baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don't have the parchment paper, just put some oil on the baking sheet. Make a round loaf. Brush it with the egg yolk. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. If needed, brush it with the egg again. You may even sprinkle it with some pearl sugar or poppy seeds.
Step three. Heat the oven to 350 F (200 C) and place your risen bread on the middle rack. I started to bake everything on the upper middle rack, so it would not burn the bottom. If you bake once in a while, you probably know your oven. Mine has 4 racks. I now started baking everything on a second rack from the top. I call it the upper middle rack. Bake it for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do not open the oven door for the first 2o minutes, otherwise, your bread may collapse. Check with the toothpick to make sure it comes out 'clean'. That means it's done. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy! Serve with milk, hot coco or (herbal) tea.