I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Buttermilk Bread

 

Buttermik Bread

Making a fresh loaf of lovely, real homemade bread gives me more of a sense of accomplishment than just about anything.  I am not an expert at it, you see, and I am still a little wary around yeast.  So I look for simple recipes and adapt them as best I can for my skill level.  Because I love that moment when you see that your dough has risen to a beautiful, soft round and then the smell of baking bread coming from your very own oven.  And my love for buttermilk is well known, so  creating a simple bread that makes the most of buttermilk tang was a natural step for me and this has become my go-to loaf.

This bread is delicious with any kind of jam or jelly and makes a very nice sandwich.  But for out January soup month extravaganza purposes, it’s amazing with a big bowl of soup.  Spread with a nice butter, toasted if you like.

Buttermilk Bread

1 packet (.25 ounces) rapid rise yeast

¼ cup warm water (about 110°)

¾ cup whole buttermilk

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ – ¾ cups bread flour

Sprinkle the yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the warm water.  Give it a little swirl to distribute then leave it to proof until bubbly and creamy, 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the buttermilk and the butter, cut into chunks, in a small saucepan and heat over medium low, just until the butter melts.  Let the mixture cool slightly – you want it just warm enough to touch.

Add the honey, salt and warm buttermilk mixture to the yeast in the bowl, then add 1 ½ cups of flour.  Use the dough hook on medium speed to blend the ingredients together until you have a wet, shaggy dough.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and the hook if necessary.  Add more flour, ¼ cup at a time, beating at medium until you have a mass of smooth dough (you may not use all the flour).  Continue beating until the dough is smooth and elastic and comes together in a nice ball.  All this should be about 5 minutes on the mixer.

Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a large, buttered bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.  Here’s a tip I learned from my bread-baking friend Holly. The microwave is a warm, draft free place great for rising dough.  Just leave a post-it not so no one turns it on.  Even better, create a moist, warm dough habitat by putting a measuring cup with ½ cup of water in the microwave before the bowl of dough and zap for 2 minutes, until the inside is nice and steamy.  Quickly stick the dough bowl in and shut the door.

Punch down the risen dough and form it into a loaf.  Transfer it to a buttered 8 by 4 inch loaf pan and leave to rise until it fills the pan, about another hour.

Heat the oven to 375°.  Bake the bread until it is nicely browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.  Turn the bread out into your oven-mitted hand and tap on the bottom; it should give a nice hollow thud.  Remove it from the pan and wrap in it in a clean tea towel to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf

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1 comment to Buttermilk Bread

  • beth

    oh, that is a genius tip about using the microwave, and heating it up first! when i had a gas stove, i’d use the unlit oven for letting breads rise – the pilot was enough that the oven was rarely cold.

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