Imagine this: light, beautiful loaves- two of them- made from normal ingredients you probably have on hand. Imagine, further, that this bread doesn't need to be kneaded. Imagine that it also doesn't require any fancy equipment or processes. Imagine that it does its own thing while you're folding laundry or checking email or putting off cleaning the bathtub. Imagine all those things, and then reach for this bread recipe. Because honey, it delivers. Maximum reward for minimum effort. That's what this bread should really be called!
I was intrigued when this bread recipe popped up on my Pinterest feed a few weeks ago. I read it and thought: ugh... no way that will work! Where are all the ingredients? And I was right; the recipe as pinned produced a dough soup. So I chucked it all. But still, this recipe intrigued me. So I gave it another go, adapting it as necessary to make it work. And did it ever.
Josh has already asked me three times to bake this again. Basically, our marriage is now: Morning, sweet. Sleep well? Gonna bake that pepper bread today?
So without further ado, I give you:
Magic Milk Bread
Adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk- whole or 2%
2 tablespoons softened butter- plus enough to grease 2 loaf pans
3-5 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Optional topping: 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
1. In microwave or small saucepan, gently heat milk until it's warm. (Like a baby bottle- not hot, not cold. For my purposes, I use 2% milk and buttermilk, because that's what I usually have on hand. You can use any combination of 1 1/2 cups total of whole or 2% milk, buttermilk, or cream.)
2. Pour into large bowl and sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir.
3. Add softened butter and stir again.
3. Measure 3 cups of flour and add it on top of milk mixture. Sprinkle salt over flour and swirl salt into flour with wooden spoon.
4. Stir flour/salt and milk mixture together to incorporate flour. At this point, you should have a very loose dough. Gradually stir in more flour- up to 2 more cups- until you have a very soft dough that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl when you stir.
5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in warm place to let it rise until double, about 45 minutes.
6. Grease two standard size loaf pans with softened butter. Preheat oven to 425 F.
7. Divide dough in half (I use a pastry scraper) and place in loaf pans. Let rise again for 20 minutes. (Or longer won't hurt if you get busy.)
8. Using a sharp knife, slice a criss-cross pattern on loaves using a quick, gentle motion.
9. Sprinkle with topping: 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper, or other (see below)
10. Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from loaf pans and cool on wire rack.
This bread keeps for 2-3 days when well wrapped, so consider freezing or giving away the second loaf if you won't get to it soon.
In addition to cracked black pepper, try these toppings:
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, dill, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar
Hope you enjoy! -Brin