Just in case you weren’t aIready aware, I have a reputation of being a horrible cook. When I do try to exercise some kind of culinary skill, I try to make the recipes as fail safe as possible because one tiny mishap can subject me to Jerry’s merciless mocking for the next several weeks. Luckily Grandma Teetsel’s recipe for what she called “Swiss Bread” is one of those safety nets. Even Jerry cannot find a problem with this bread and after a few loaves he got rid of the bread machine that was using up precious space on our counter-top and left the homemade bread baking to me.
- 1 package of yeast
- 2 cups of lukewarm water (divided)
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the water. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes until it looks kind of foamy at the top, like this:
Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add dissolved yeast and start mixing with a wooden spoon. Add up to a cup of the remaining water. Mix with wooden spoon until well blended. This should take about 5 minutes at the most. No kneading necessary! Dough should be soft and sticky.
Cover bowl and set in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. It takes about 45 minutes in my kitchen (about the length of one DVR-d episode of The Ghost Whisperer), but Grandma’s notes say it can take up to 4 hours. It should look like this:
Punch it down with the wooden spoon and put in a greased bread pan. I usually coat my pan with cooking spray but you can also use butter (which is always better). DON’T FORGET THIS STEP OTHERWISE YOUR BREAD WILL COME OUT LOOKING LIKE THIS:
(Unfortunate results such as this must be followed by at least 5 perfect subsequent loaves in order to silence the ranting of one’s husband.)
Cover pan with a glass dome lid and let rise again. If you are wondering what the fuck you are supposed to use for a “glass dome lid” that will fit over a bread pan try something like this:
The bread has “riz” enough when it runs over the sides* but I do not recommend this because it’s a bitch to get out of the pan. Let it rise until it is just slightly over the top. Grandma’s notes say absolutely nothing about how long this takes. Just watch it closely. In my kitchen it takes about 15-20 minutes (about the length of one DVR-d episode of Cougar Town) on top of the oven which is preheating to 400 degrees. It should look like this:
Grandma’s notes say to bake one hour but in my oven it takes about 45 minutes. I end up with a beautiful loaf of freshly baked bread that looks like this:
…and slides out of the pan painlessly like this:
The resulting bread has a spongy middle and chewy crust that makes great toast and is also a perfect bread for paninis or grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s also good for restoring faith in husbands who might otherwise think you are a disaster in the kitchen.
*Please forgive obscure Little Women reference said by Jo March: “I say, isn’t the bread ‘riz’ enough when it runs over the pans?” – Louisa May Alcott.