Bread-making is certainly less common than it used to be. It requires a time commitment of a few hours, requires a fairly large amount of patience and determination, and with many artisan breads easily available at local supermarkets it may seem hardly worth it to devote the time and energy necessary to make a good loaf of bread. Sure, everyone knows the smell of baking bread is one of the best smells a person can experience, and even many of the artisan loafs for sale still contain a smorgasbord of preservatives not included in your grandmother's recipes, but even with those incentives the process still can seem far too daunting to start a particular bread project.
I'm here to tell you: this recipe is worth it. Like all yeast-bread recipes it does take a good deal of time to obtain a final product, so it's not necessarily a middle-of-the-week project. But if you have a few hours free on a weekend sometime (and, I suppose, aren't on the Atkins diet) I entreat you to give this a go. The crumb is amazingly soft and moist, but still holds together well enough for sandwiches. It's also partly whole-wheat, so it's healthier than many breads.
(I'm going to go step-by-step here, with photos for every step; it may be helpful to open all the steps on one page right off the bat. Within each step, there will be instructions and asides, with the asides separated by being in parentheses -- thus, anyone that just flatly wants to know what to do, you can ignore the parenthesized bits. These asides will make note of some of the reasons why I'm instructing you what to do in that specific way and other expansions on the blunt instructions. I will also list the condensed, aside-and-picture-less recipe in the final slide.)
Let's get started!
Step 1: Necessary Ingredients
Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 cup Water
1 cup Cottage Cheese (yes, seriously)
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Butter
5 1/2 - 6 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tablespoons White Sugar
3 teaspoons Salt
2 packages of Quick-Rise Yeast
Most of these ingredients are pretty standard for breadmaking -- except, of course, the cottage cheese. In this recipe, though, it works beautifully to make the bread heartier, and if you use regular cottage cheese (as opposed to low- or no-fat) it can make the crumb even more moist, as all added fats do.
You'll also want to have a stick of hard (cold) butter for future buttering purposes in addition to the 1/4 cup listed here.