Buttermilk Bread

Loaves of buttermilk bread

This is a recipe that makes two delicious loaves of bread, perfect for serving with a hearty soup, or making sandwiches.

This is a recipe that makes two delicious loaves of bread, perfect for serving with a hearty soup, or making sandwiches. Figure on about 2½ hours of preparation. Photographed about ten minutes after it came out of the oven.

My Mother was over for Christmas one year, and suggested we change our Holiday recipe for buttermilk bread. After some research on the web, I found almost exactly what she had described. Did it ever make us not just one fantastic loaf of bread, but two of them!

Ingredients

  • Start three to four hours before serving;
  • This recipe will make two loaves of buttermilk bread. Two glass bread baking dishes are needed.
Ingredient Quantity
Warm water 125 mL
Yeast (traditional) 2 pkg (about 2 scant tablespoons)
Sugar 2 teaspoons
Flour 5½ cups:
• 3 cups unbleached flour;
• 1½ cups bread flour;
• 1 cup whole wheat flour.
Golden or brown sugar 15 mL (about 1 tablespoon)
Salt 2.5 mL (about ½ teaspoon)
Baking soda 2.5 mL (about ½ teaspoon)
Butter or margarine 45 mL (3 tablespoons)
Buttermilk (room temperature) 330 mL (about 1⅓ cups)

Preparation

    1. Proof the yeast with the granulated sugar in the water. We prefer traditional to instant yeast. Proofing normally takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Try leaving the container in a covered sink in a layer of very warm water;
    2. Place the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir all solid ingredients thoroughly;
    3. Melt the butter, and mix in with the buttermilk. Add the buttermilk – butter liquid to the solid ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir together to form the dough. Once the yeast in Step 1 is proofed, add it to the mixing bowl as well;
    4. As the dough thickens, mix with a wooden spoon. This part can be done in a mixer with a dough hook. Once the dough mixture is thick enough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl, empty it onto a floured board;
    5. Kneading: Knead until the bread dough is well mixed. Click if you need tips on kneading the dough. This may take 10 to 12 minutes;
    6. First Rising: Wash and butter the large mixing bowl, and roll the dough around in the buttered mixing bowl. Set it aside to rise. We put the bread dough into our large sink, in which there is a small layer of very warm water to keep the dough both warm and in moist air while rising. The sink gets covered by the mixing board we used to knead the dough;
    7. After about 45 minutes (or more) to allow the dough to at least double in size, empty it onto the floured mixing board, and knead again for 10 to 12 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Put each portion into a buttered bread baking pan;
    8. Second Rising: Allow the bread dough in the baking pans to rise at least 45 minutes. Near the end of that time, set your oven for 375°F (190°C) and let it come to temperature as the bread dough rises to about double in bulk. Melt about 15 mL (1 tablespoon) of butter, and brush the tops of the two loaves. Using a sharp knife, make three light slashes across the top of each loaf;
    9. Baking: Place the two bread pans in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 15 minutes. After this time, reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) if the crust is turning a golden brown, and continue to bake for another 20 minutes (i.e. 35 minutes total baking). The bread should be nicely browned, and sound hollow if you tap the top. Remove from oven, and take the bread from the pans. Place the loaves on the oven rack (the oven can be off, but cooling) to let the crust get crisp. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!