Today is World Bread Day and I made the tiniest little loaf to celebrate. This is my first bread of the season, which I always think of as kind of special. I chose a small bread, because I wanted to try something new and only needed a little taste.
I adapted a recipe for Sweet Orange Bread that I found in the bread machine section of Fleischmann's Yeast Best-Ever Breads. It's one of those small paperback cookbooks that I sent away for years ago. It was a very good purchase.
What was very different about adapting this recipe is that I turned it from a bread machine recipe into one that is made by hand. I don't like the idea of bread machines. They take the heart and soul out of bread baking. Bread baking is about connecting with your food. It's about getting your hands in the dough and kneading it. Having to wait for it to rise. Punching it down. Shaping it. Letting it rise again. Then baking it and having that wonderful fresh bread aroma envelop you and linger.
Making bread is about feeling the transformation of flour into dough. I know there's science behind it, but it feels like magic to me every time. Maybe that feeling of magic is the difference between those of us who bake from scratch with no machine and those that don't. I wonder. If there were no magic for me, I don't think it would make a difference either way. Any bread machine supporters out there who beg to differ?
Maybe part of the magic is remembering as a child watching my mother making bread. I was already in awe of her and when I saw that she could transform all these different things into something so good. I was even more in awe. When I discovered that I could do this myself, I loved it immediately. There's also just something wonderful about bread. It has sustained humans for thousands of years. And think of the word companion. It literally means someone with whom you would break bread.
I made several changes to the recipe in terms of ingredients as well, and the next time I'll use a full packet of yeast instead of just one and a half teaspoons. I'll also add a little more orange juice. Here's the recipe. I really like this bread. Enjoy!
Small Orange Honey Bread
Adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast Best-Ever Breads.
1 large egg (beaten)
1/3 cup vanilla rice milk (warm)
1/4 cup honey (warm)
1 T butter (melted)
juice and pulp of one orange
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
In small bowl in microwave, heat milk, honey, and butter until it melts. The liquid should not be too hot, just very warm. Add yeast to warm mixture and use a small whisk to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture to flour. Add orange juice and egg. Mix well with wooden spoon until you can longer stir it. Place dough on a floured surface and knead until very easy to handle. About 10 minutes.
Place dough back in bowl and cover loosely. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down bread and shape into small loaf. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
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