Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

Simple White Bread

Can you smell the homemade bread baking?

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

The smell of homemade bread baking in the oven is one of my very favorite scents to float out of the kitchen. From the yeasty dough that hits your nostrils as you knead to the sweet, tangy scent that creeps from the oven as it bakes. Mmmm, heavenly.

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

I come from a long line of female bread bakers. My great grandmother on my mother’s side made the best dilly bread and a poppy seed loaf stuffed so full of poppy seeds they threatened to burst from seams. After eating a slice, we would have to check each other’s teeth for lingering seeds.

My great grandmother on my father’s side could whip up a batch of buttermilk biscuits in the blink of an eye. She lived in the south, and folks in the south know their way around a biscuit. After my great aunt died (her daughter), we travelled to Virginia for the funeral. The next morning, I woke to her churning out biscuits at warp speed, the biscuit cutter moving so fast it was a blur. It was an experience I will never forget.

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

My grandmom on my father’s side learned the art of bread making from her southern mother. When I was a child, I used to watch my grandmom whip up her famous dinner rolls. Since I’ve always had a passion for baking, I would perch myself on one of the stools at the island where all the magic happened, watching her every move. She would describe the process as she methodically kneaded and twisted dough between her fingers, shaping the rolls into perfectly smooth balls. I learned that she prefers shortening over butter when greasing the cast iron pan that the rolls baked in. Never scald the milk; it’s an inexcusable mistake.

I also grew up watching my father attempt to make bread. Every time, he made the inexcusable mistake of scalding the milk. His rolls were more like hockey pucks than bread. Finally, after years of torturing us with bread that could chip a tooth, he succeeded…but only after a dough explosion.

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

My dad and I have this ongoing battle of the bread. Even after growing up with a mother who could make bread in her sleep, he just couldn’t grasp the process. Then I entered the picture–his ever-competitive daughter. What he didn’t know at the time was that I would grow up to become utterly obsessed with food…and relentlessly competitive.

Everything became a challenge.

He taught me how to make pie crust at a young age. I now make the better pie crust.

After a few years, the tables turned. I became the teacher and he became my student. Something had to be done about his inadequate loaves of bread. Honestly, we had all been tortured enough.

Because my dad is a sneaky, sneaky man, he went behind my back and got lessons from the master herself, my grandmom (his mother).

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

I wasn’t supposed to know about The Great Dough Explosion. Lucky for me, my dad is the worst secret keeper alive. I found the evidence hiding in the freezer: a frozen dish rag covered with some unknown substance.

Me: Hey, mom, what’s up with this frozen rag?

Mom: Your dad blew up the…

Me: I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that last part. Dad blew up what?

Mom: I wasn’t supposed to tell you. He blew up the dough. Jennie, you should have seen it. The dough looked like something in the movies. It was oozing over the sides of the bowl.

Me: *runs out the back door*

I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer. I had to go find the man that caused The Great Dough Explosion.

Come to find out, he cut the bread recipe in half and forgot to do the same with the yeast.

I was no more good!

Simple White Bread | www.themessybakerblog.com

If you want to bake a successful loaf of bread, don’t be like my dad and scald the milk. The milk should not go over 110 degrees F. When the milk is too hot to keep my finger in the pot, it’s ready. If your milk comes to a boil, start over again.

Boiled milk=dead yeast. Dead yeast=a loser loaf of bread. Just ask my dad. For more tips on bread baking, visit my simple white bread post over at Food Fanatic.

32 Responses to “Simple White Bread”

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    1
    Sommer @ASpicyPerspective — June 11, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Homemade bread is always the best! I can’t wait to try your recipe! Pinned

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you so much, Sommer! You’re right, nothing beats homemade bread.

      Reply

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    Laura Dembowski — June 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Love homemade bread! I have plans to make a totally homemade blt this summer and this needs to be a part of it.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      We just made BLT sammies a few weeks ago using this bread. Mmm!

      Reply

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    steph@stephsbitebybite — June 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Simple can sometimes be the BEST — especially when it comes to bread. Wish I had a hot out of the oven slice of this!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Yes, I love simple recipes. Thanks!

      Reply

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    Susan — June 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking and that’s a gorgeous loaf. Also the story of the exploding yeast is cracking me up! I’ve had bread go up and out of a bowl before. Lesson learned, always use a bigger bowl!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much, Susan!

      Reply

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    Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice — June 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    There’s just nothing like home-made bread. Love your pictures, beautiful!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much, Gayle!

      Reply

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    margaret wycoff — June 11, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing the secret of the milk…leaving a finger in!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      You’re so welcome, Margaret. It’s how my grandmom taught me.

      Reply

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    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — June 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Lol, I love the healthy (or…unhealthy ;) competition you have with your dad over bread baking supremacy. He should’ve thrown the evidence into the trash so that you’d never find it! Thanks for the tip about leaving a finger in the milk. That’s pretty brilliant. Your loaf of bread here looks perfect, Jennie, and your photos are beautiful. I wish I could reach into my screen for a slice!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      We are always competing. I think he regrets not just throwing the rag away :) Thank you so much, Nancy!

      Reply

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    Faye Leong — June 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Amazing work! And what a fun story behind this bread recipe….LOL.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks, Faye!

      Reply

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — June 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Gorgeous! I can never say no to a homemade fresh bread. Pinned!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      There’s no way I’m saying no to bread :) Thanks, Anna!

      Reply

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    shannon — June 12, 2014 at 7:01 am

    look at how poofy your bread is! I feel for your dad: it’s hard coming from a family that can bake bread when you seem to struggle with it (and explode dough sometimes)! :) all i can think about is how wonderful a loaf of this must smell coming out of the oven…and all the things i could do with it after that. :)

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Shannon. I think he felt the pressure, because he baked numerous loaves until he perfected his technique. It’s the best smell ever.

      Reply

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    Bill @thewoksoflife — June 12, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Homemade white bread is the only white bread I will have and this looks like the recipe! Thanks for sharing

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks, Bill!

      Reply

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    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — June 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Love your family baking stories — those are the best memories! Also I’ll take eleventy billion loaves of this fluffy bread, please and thank you. ;)

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks, Steph!

      Reply

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    Kim@Treats & Trinkets — June 12, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I’m kind of tempted to make my own dough explosion now…

    Gorgeous bread, Jennie. You can come by and bake me a loaf any time.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      A dough explosion does sound kind of fun. Thanks, Kim!

      Reply

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    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — June 14, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Hahaha. I love that your dad even attempted to make bread. That’s awesome!

    And this bread looks glorious. So fluffy and a thousand times better than the store bought stuff. :)

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Yes, so much better than the junk they sell at the grocery store. Thanks, Erin.

      Reply

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    movita beaucoup — June 14, 2014 at 8:02 am

    At school, we never started a batch of bread without our thermometers. It was law. We wore them in our jacket pockets, and checked not only the water/milk temps, but also never removed a loaf of bread from the ovens without first checking their temps as well. LONG LIVE THE THERMOMETER! LONG LIVE BREAD!

    Yours looks absolutely lovely…

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I never thought to use a thermometer to test the bread before removing it from the oven. What temperature should a loaf of bread read when it’s ready? I do love my thermometer, but I’m also lazy. Thanks!

      Reply

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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — June 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I LOVE that you come from a long line of lady bread bakers!!! So cool! And your dad is hilarious lol.

    Jennie…you made my weakness. One of my favoritest things is homemade white bread slathered in butter….and I’ve never made it. BECAUSE IT’S DANGEROUS. But now I’m gonna. and it’s your fault.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied June 15th, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      I’ll take the blame for this one :) Yeah, load my slice up with buttah. It’s the best way to eat this bread. Thanks, Kayle.

      Reply

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