Let's face it, there is nothing in this world like the taste (and the smell) of fresh homemade baked bread still warm from the oven. I grew up on this wonderful heavenly comfort food and watched my Mom make her own bread many times. Making her own bread was like second nature to her and she did it with such confidence and knowledge. I thought it was so much fun to watch and could hardly wait for it to rise so I could watch her punch it down and shape it into that loaf that made the best sandwiches. But my favorite way to eat my Mom's bread was hot out of the oven with butter and jelly. I make my own bread now and serve it the same way.
My Mom’s Honey Buttermilk Bread
1 envelope yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup warm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup butter, melted and still slightly warm but not hot
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
6 cups white bread flour
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and water and set aside for five minutes. Then mix in the buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda with the yeast mixture. Add three cups of flour and mix with an electric mixture for about five minutes on low speed. Mix in the warm butter until you see no traces of it.
Add the remaining flour one cup at a time and keep mixing on low speed. When the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.
Place in greased bowl and brush a little melted butter all over it. Cover with greased plastic wrap put in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and form it into two loaves. Then place the dough into greased loaf pans and brush more butter on top of each loaf. Cover again with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, covering tops with foil if they brown too fast. Remove loaves from oven and brush with more melted butter.
Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool slightly on a rack. Cover the loaves if you want soft crusts.
Makes 2 loaves
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