I don't know about you but I actually enjoy getting new kitchen tools, gadgets and appliances as gifts. Cookbooks are a perfect anytime gift too.
Do you have favorite kitchen related gift you received that you are still super happy about?
My all time favorite kitchen appliance gift I have, has got to be my KitchenAid Mixer. My husband gave me this for Christmas a few moons ago and I love it! It came with a meat grinder attachment, which I have used many times and am always trying to come up with new ways to use too. One of these days I will probably need to get the sausage maker attachment, so I can make my own sausage links.
The smell of fresh baked bread is such an inviting and comforting smell. I have a confession to make: I have a fresh baked bread addiction that I refuse to give up. I could give up other carbs but not my homemade breads!
If you are looking for a cookbook with easy to follow baking recipes with helpful explanations and techniques to use then you should give Julia Child's "Baking with Julia" a try.
I have to admit I didn't know that Julia Child had "just" baking cookbooks but my husband found this one for me and it now has a special spot on my cookbook shelf.
The first recipe I made using this cookbook was the White Loaves (pg. 81). I decided to try this recipe after seeing the color picture of some seriously scrumptious looking toasted bread on page 56 of this book. When I saw the picture of this bread, the first thought that came to my mind was: "I need this bread with a slab of butter right about now."
The recipe makes 2 loaves of bread but can easily be cut in half to only make 1 loaf. **My tip is if you have the flour on hand to make the 2 loaves do it and freeze one after it has completely cooled.
adapted from Julia Child-Baking with Julia
**From start to finish you will need about 3 hours to make 2 loaves**
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
6-7 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour*
2 tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, softened
Pour 1/2 cup of the water into your mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, mixture should look foamy.
Add the rest of the water and about half of the flour. Stir (using the dough hook) until well blended. Now add about 3 1/2 cups flour, the salt and butter and stir until well combined and shaggy. *You will need to turn the mixture off a few times to make sure you scrap down the sides of the bowl.
Continue to knead, about 8-10 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. If the dough does not look smooth and elastic at this point add a little (one tablespoon at a time) more flour until it looks and feels smooth.
You can do the kneading by hand if preferred or if you do not have a dough hook attachment for your mixer. Just make sure to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Now it’s time to shape the dough into a ball and to put it into a lightly greased bowl (bowl should be large enough for the dough to double in size). Cover loosely with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.
Meanwhile butter two 4″x8″ loaf pans and set aside for later.
If your dough has doubled in size you are ready to punch the dough down. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Now on a lightly floured surface pat each piece into a rectangle that’s about 9″x12″
Picture Credit goes to Max at Kvalifood
Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan. While you are waiting for the dough to rise again go ahead and preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven.
Once the dough has doubled in size again you are ready to bake it. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown. Remove the loaves from the baking pans as soon as you take them out of the oven and put them on cooling racks to cool.
**Remember don't cut your bread until it is almost completely cool....I know, I know freshly baked bread is amazing BUT if you can control your urge to cut right into the loaf you really should. It still has some magic to work while it's sitting on the cooling racks.
>>I was not paid to mention the products or websites used in this post, the information given is based on my opinion only<< BUT I wouldn't mind doing sponsored post from time to time if asked ;-)