Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bread and (Strawberry) Butter

Happy month of Valentine’s Day everybody! For some inexplicable reason, I am really looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year. I’ve never been attached to this holiday before, regardless of my relationship status. The excessive amount of repackaged chocolate and candy neither depressed nor thrilled me. My only guess is I suffer from post Christmas blues more than I care to admit. I still sing Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph to my little girl before bed. While at her request, I am not attempting to dissuade her lullaby selection.

Whatever the reason, I find myself in a bit of a Martha Stewart mode. I crafted a Valentine’s Day wreath for the door and this past weekend I made my first loaf of bread with my new KitchenAid (a Christmas present of course). Why bread? Because I got a chance to experiment with butter, my favorite food group. I made a lovely pink strawberry butter, perfect in color and flavor for the joy and silliness of the season.

Strawberry butter
yields 1 stick butter

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/4 cup frozen strawberries

Defrost the strawberries. If you forget this step like I did, just heat the strawberries in the microwave in 10-second intervals until just soft. Using a food processor, bullet, or hand held mixer, pulse the strawberries until turn to liquid. Using a fork, whip the strawberry puree into the butter until fully mixed. If the butter does not seem soft enough to mix, heat in microwave but only for 10 seconds at a time. Do not let the butter melt.

Basic White Bread
yields 2 loaves
adapted from Instructions and Recipes for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer

1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter
2 packages active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
6 cups all purpose flour
  1. Place milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves completely. Cool to lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed Kitchen Aid mixer bowl (to warm bowl run bowl under warm water for 10 seconds and dry before using. Attach bowl and dough hook to Kitchen Aid. Turn to speed 2 and mix ingredients for about a minute.
  3. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, one ½ cup at a time. Mix on speed 2 for about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should cling to hook and the sides of the bowl should be clean. The dough should look smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl. Flip dough so all sides greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft until doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll out each half of dough with a rolling pin onto a floured counter top into roughly rectangle shape. With hands, staring at a shorter end of the rectangle, roll each half up and fold exposed ends underneath roll. Place halves into 2 greased loaf pans, seam side down.
  6. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for another hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

1 comment:

  1. Yum - love homemade bread, and strawberry butter is delicious!