A bit of backstory on this one. I was going through my YouTube channel videos and was reminded of this video that I made in 2014. My neighbor then was Rita. She moved next door to us in 2000 and we became fast friends. By 2013 she became a bit obsessed about making bread; she was making three loaves a week. In an effort to capture her method I made recorded her and made this video.
Rita was our neighbor for nineteen years and we had many good times together. In 2019 she moved into an apartment; I took her last remaining dog she named Fergus. Rita passed away in June of 2021. Her dog is now officially ours and his name is Fergus Fergus (see photos below).
Adapted by Rita from Betty Groff's Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook
2 packets dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 cups milk, scalded
2 tablespoons sugar (honey may be used, but add more flour)
3 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 cups all-purpose flour
Note: Let the dough rise in the oven (not on); it's airtight and free of pet hair, so turn the oven on for 1 to 2 minutes then shut off. Turn on the oven light if you have one.
Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water plus pinch of sugar in a small bowl. While it blooms, scald 2 cups of milk (heat med-high to just below boiling, stir constantly)
Pour milk into mixing bowl (Kitchen Aid stand), add 1/2 stick butter, let cool to lukewarm.
Slowly hand stir in salt and sugar, then eggs, finally yeast (add a bit at a time)
Put bowl on mixer, use lowest speed, and spoon in 3 cups of flour gradually.
Place a damp cloth over mixture and put in oven to rise for 30 minutes.
Put bowl back on mixer, stir on medium speed for a minute or two, drop down to low and add in the last 3 cups of flour gradually. Use a rubber spatula if needed to scrape sides occasionally.
Once all the flour is in, increase speed to 4 and mix until the dough is pulling away from the side of the bowl. If it looks too sticky, or doesn't pull away, add a bit more flour until it does.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface, sprinkle flour on top, and hand knead (fold, press, turn, fold, press) until the air bubbles are gone.
Scrub the bowl with hot water, wipe with paper towel, coat generously with oil
Put the dough in the bowl, cover with damp cloth, back in the oven to rise, 30 minutes.
Turn dough onto floured surface, knead some more, then cut into 3 equal balls (flour your knife)
Shape each ball into a loaf-like shape and place into greased loaf pans (mine are 4"x8" but you can use 4"x9").
Put loaf pans in oven to rise, damp cloth on top, 30 minutes.
Remove pans, cover, leave on top of stove while you heat oven to 375 degrees.
Just before putting loaves in oven, brush lightly with milk for a soft brown crust, egg for a shiny hard crust.
Into the oven for 35 minutes.
Thump the top after baking - should sound hollow - remove from pans immediately and cool on racks
Here is a video I made of the process.
If you're going to freeze loaves, do it while they're still a little warm to preserve moisture.
Lightweight linen dish towel is the best for damp covering.
Plastic "bread bags" at the grocery are best for storage; zip bags are too wide and short for a loaf.
Entire process takes 3 hours; 1 1/2 hours is rise time, 1/2 is bake time, about an hour for prepping. Clean as you go and it's a snap!!
This is Fergus Fergus; he's a Cairn Terrier; he is 12 years old.