VertigoB Bread Recipe
3 packets of yeast
1 quart potato water (save the water from cooking potatoes)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 dry skim milk
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp. salt (I use kosher)
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup oil
5 lbs. flour (16-18 cups including 4-5 cups of whole wheat flour)
Here are the little beauties all ready for the oven.
Get yourself a really big bowl. This is a huge amount of bread dough, so you will need it.
Wisk together the yeast, potato water (it should not be hot, room temperature is just fine), sugar, milk, salt, and oil. Add the eggs one at a time. From this point on, it is all about adding flour. I usually add the whole wheat flour first and then add the white flour. Mix it as long as you can in a mixer and then turn the dough onto a floured surface (preferably a board).
I mix my bread in a contraption like this. We rock it old school around here. No fancy bread electric bread makers around this ranch. That is just how we roll here in So Cal. Cranking that bread dough, kneading it by hand, I am here to tell you, is a REAL work out. You will be sweating when you are done, but lucky you, you will have some yummy bread to replace the calories you just burned off!
You have kneaded enough and added enough flour, when you stick your finger into the dough and it no longer sticks to you when you pull it back out.
Wash out the bowl you mixed the dough in, spray it with non-stick spray. Put the dough inside, turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Make sure it is not in any drafts and let it rise until doubled.
If you are like me, it will "get away from you" and be pushing the cover off the bowl.
Punch the dough down completely. Get four bread pans ready, grease them up. Then cut the dough into four equal portions. I usually weigh them to make sure they are the same size. I am terrible at estimating (too much like math and I am REALLY bad at math), so I want to make sure they are equal.
Roll each portion out into a 9 x 12 rectangle, making sure all the bubbles are out. Roll dough toward you, jellyroll fashion, beginning with the upper edge. Seal the dough with the heel of your hand after each roll of the dough. Be sure to seal the final seam on the bottom of the loaf.
Seal the ends of each loaf by pressing firmly with the side of your hand to make a thin, sealed strip.
Fold the sealed ends of the loaf under. Be careful not to tear the dough. Place each loaf into a greased loaf pan ( 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan).
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel again and let it rise until doubled in size. Again, I have a very bad habit (in the grand tradition of my Grandma Doty) of letting the dough "get away from me." It ends up making these big, beautiful loaves of bread.
Be very careful removing the plastic wrap from the loaves once they have risen. I have fallen victim to rushing to get the plastic off too quickly and deflating the dough. Heartbreaking. There is nothing more pathetic than bread dough that deflates. I am getting sad just thinking about it!
Here are the beauties right out of the oven.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.
Turn the oven temperature back to 375 and bake until brown on the bottom (about 20 minutes, but keep a close eye on them.) My ovens are pretty hot, so I only bake them about 12 minutes on 375.
You can check on them by knocking on the bottom. It should sound hard, not like it is still soft and raw.
Sit down and breathe in the intoxicating perfume of baking bread. It has no equal. It might make you feel giddy and a little lightheaded, but don't worry, it isn't permanent.
Now, once the bread has cooled off a little, slice some of it. Make yourself some toast, pour some coffee and enjoy, really really enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This bread recipe is a family heirloom. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, and now me, have all made this recipe for years.
My great-grandmother made all the bread her family ate. She wore a hole in her cutting board, that is how much bread she made.
After I quit my job, I was feeling super domestic (and a little lost and a little pregnant) and starting making bread again. Mr. Smith (my brand new husband at the time) dubbed it "B Bread." So, for the purposes of this blog, it is now VertigoB Bread. Whatever you choose to call it, it is damn good bread. There is also something very therapeutic about making bread. It has helped me make through more than a few rough patches.
It is also so rewarding to have these lovely things gracing my counter.
Email me if you have questions about this auntbaaa [at] gmail [dot]com. Even if you don't have questions, I would love to hear from anyone that tries this recipe. Drop me a line and let me know how it turned out.