Introduction: Easy Buttermilk Bread

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Who doesn't love the wonderful smell of fresh-baked bread? Think making bread is hard? Think again! With a few easy steps, you too can enjoy fresh, warm bread from your own oven! Please vote for this entry. Thank you!!

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

For this recipe you will need:

  • 6 to 6 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 envelopes of quick-acting yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk NOTE: You can substitute 4 tablespoons of dry buttermilk powder instead and add it to the dry ingredients. Increase water to 2 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces

Step 2: Add Dry Ingredients

  • Add 3 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast, salt and baking soda (and buttermilk powder, if using) to the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook.
  • Using your KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook, mix the dry ingredients on speed 2 (low speed on a hand mixer) for one minute to combine.
  • NOTE: If you do not have a mixer, just use a large bowl and a wooden spoon, or a hand mixer.

Step 3: Add Wet Ingredients

  • Heat buttermilk, water and butter until very warm (120 -130 degrees F); butter does not need to melt. To gauge the temperature, use a food-grade thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, make sure the water is warm to the touch, not hot. If your water is too hot, the yeast will not activate.
  • Add to flour mixture and mix on speed 2 (low speed on a hand mixer) for one minute

Step 4: Add Remaining Flour

  • While KitchenAid mixer is still on speed 2, add enough of the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make a soft dough.
  • NOTE: I usually use all 6 1/2 cups of flour, but weather conditions can cause this to change. Only use what you need in order to allow the dough to "clean" the sides of the bowl as in picture 2.

Step 5: Knead the Dough

  • Continue with the KitchenAid mixer on speed 2 for two minutes in order to knead the dough.
  • NOTE: if you do not have a mixer, instead knead with your hands for 6 - 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. If you are unfamiliar with how to knead dough, check out this excellent tutorial from Kneading Tutorial
  • Kneading the dough is important in order to make sure the gluten in the dough is well developed. Do not skip this step!

Step 6: Let the Dough Rest

  • Remove dough from bowl and shape it into a ball on a floured surface.
  • Let it rest on the floured surface, covered with a dry towel, for 10 minutes.
  • You will notice the dough has risen slightly and has a smoother appearance.

Step 7: Shape the Dough

  • On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough in half.
  • Roll out one half of the dough into a 7" x 12" rectangle
  • If necessary, use your hands to gently stretch and shape the dough to create as even a rectangle as possible.

Step 8: Roll the Dough

  • Starting with the short end, roll the dough up tight into a log.
  • Pinch the seams together.
  • Seal the ends by flattening with the side of your hand to create a flap.
  • Fold the flap underneath the log.
  • Place the log, seam-side down, in a greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.

Step 9: Let It Rise!

  • Place the pans in a warm, draft-free location and cover with a dry cloth until double in size, about 30 - 45 minutes.

Step 10: Time to Bake!

  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 - 35 minutes or until done.
  • Remove from pans; if desired, brush on melted butter with a pastry brush
  • Let cool on wire racks.

Slice and Enjoy!!

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