Homemade Bread - Iowa Farmwife Style (and...snitching bread before it's finished baking! It smelled SOOOO GOOD!)

Although we are almost always low carb, no sugar - there are some times when I go through an intense craving for homemade bread.  Today was one of those days, although it's been building up for some time.  Finally, I decided to head to the kitchen and made some ciabatta bread dough... but I knew that wasn't going to be 'fast' enough as ciabatta takes a long time since you have to make a starter first.

I mixed up a starter for the ciabatta but then I grabbed my old trusty bread machine from the cupboard where he's mostly sat ignored for the past few years since high carb bread isn't a 'normal' in our home any more.  Oh I LOVE this machine though.  And sadly, they don't make them anymore.  I love it so much that as I was adding ingredients in this one, I was thinking about how one Christmas, years and years ago, I gave both my parents and my father-in-law one for Christmas.  Only I'm almost positive neither of them use theirs anymore and I was pondering asking them if they still have them, because I would TOTALLY LOVE TO HAVE IT if they EVER plan to get rid of it.  I'd want to cry if they donated it or in my Dads case, threw it out.  They do NOT make them like this anymore... and that's sad.

But where was I?


So I figured while I waiting for the biga (starter) to foam and bubble, the quickest and easiest way to get bread FAST was my machine.  So I made it - set it - and tried to stay busy while it did it's 'thang.

And then... my house started to smell SO GOOD.
The smell of baking bread is just one of those smells that made you CRAVE that bread.
And when you haven't ate all day and you are sooo very hungry, that bread is just calling your name from the kitchen!

Although it was still baking, I opened the lid and started to pick at one tiny little part that was kind of hanging over the side.
OH MY. So good.
My mouth watered for more.
So I picked a little more.
And then I realized the whole top was basically 'done'.  It was only the center that had to finish baking.
So I grabbed a small plate and ripped off the whole top of the still-baking bread.
I smothered it with real butter, and I did not feel guilty at all.  NOT AT ALL.
Because yes, it was that good.

When I removed the bread from the machine it looked like this.  Ha ha!  I don't care.  It was amazing at the time.  And I don't think anyone can fault you for picking at fresh, homemade bread.

I have a couple 'go to' recipes for bread and I've never made this particular one in the machine before.  But it came out great!  Also I used almost all unsweetened almond milk with a dash of heavy cream since we don't have 'regular' milk in our house.  Again, it came out great. I had to go downstairs to my 'Christmas baking' storage to find some white flour - which I mixed with some of my freshly ground flour from wheat berries.  I dug out the only 'real' sugar we have in the house which was a little package of 'raw' sugar and I didn't use the full 1/4 since that amount is not only for the yeast, but a little extra for sweetening, which we don't need.  In other words, I played with the recipe... as I do all of them.

Iowa Farmhouse Style Homemade Bread

1/4 c butter
1 c scalded milk
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 pkg. yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 c flour

Put the butter, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Scald the milk and pour over the butter mixture to melt.
Let it cool.
Add a beaten egg.
Add the yeast/water mixture.
Add the flour.
Cover and let rise to double.
Punch down.
Let rise again.
Shape into loaves (2) or balls for rolls.
Let rise.
Bake 350 for 15 minutes for buns and about 30-35 minutes for bread or until golden brown and done.

I used this recipe in my bread machine by adding all the ingredients and setting it for a 2 lb. loaf - which it was almost too big for my 2 pound bread machine!  It came ALLLL the way to the top.  But then I guess that didn't matter since I opened my machine and ate the whole top of the bread even before it was finished baking! 

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