There are few things in life better than homemade bread. Just the smell of it has orchestrated instant marriage proposals; motivated children and teenagers to instant obedience; brought about world peace.....ok, maybe not world peace but I'm willing to bet it wouldn't hurt the efforts.
This is how my Mom made homemade bread - kneading by hand, lots of flour, lots of effort, lots of time....you get it. Probably why not many of us busy working Moms make bread by hand anymore. Below are 2 modern conveniences that have revolutionized the process.
The bread machine, and the dough hook for my Kitchen-Aid mixer. Both items make the messiest and trickiest part of mixing homemade bread - the kneading - a breeze. Too often it's easy to add too much flour while kneading, resulting in a heavy, tougher loaf of bread.
I like using the bread machine to mix and knead the dough. Check the manual for your particular bread machine, but I add the wet ingredients first, then the dry ingredients on top. I like to make a 'well' in the flour and add the yeast last. I start my bread machine and use it on the 'dough' setting - this is where I'm a bit old fashioned....I like to bake my loaf in my oven in a traditional loaf pan.
Finished! Now to find the butter and pear preserves.....