For some strange reason, the planets were aligned this weekend. As a result of such a celestial occurrence, I decided to bake bread from scratch. Of course it couldn’t be just any kind of bread. It couldn’t even be a normal sized loaf. I decided to pull out the same mini loaf pans I used to make my Sensational Mini Meatloaves to make these little golden-topped bundles of wonderful. Don’t ask me why I do these things. I’m not quite sure myself.
But you have to admit….they’re pretty darn cute.
So now that my kitchen is covered in mini bread loaves, what should I do with them? Of course, slathering them with butter and taking a big bite doesn’t count. I already did that. Twice.
Mini Bread Loaves
Adapted from The New Better Homes and Garden Cookbook
5 ½ – 6 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 package of quick-rise yeast
2 ¼ cups milk, warmed to 120 degrees
2 Tbl. white sugar
1 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ tsp. salt
Pour the sugar and yeast into your Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. Combine the butter and milk together and pour into the mixer bowl with the yeast. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Outfit the mixer with the dough hook and set to low speed.
Slowly add one cup of flour to the wet mixture. Next add the salt. This creates a buffer for the yeast to do its job. Continue to add the remaining flour one cup at a time until you reach 5 ½ cups total. Increase the mixer speed to medium. The dough should pull away from the sides and be slightly elastic. Add additional flour until this occurs. Increase the speed to high and kneed the dough for 2 – 4 minutes.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, and pour the dough into the greased bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 60 minutes in a warm dry place. The dough will double in size.
Spray the mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Lightly punch down the dough with your fist and dump onto a floured cutting board. Shape to resemble a giant dough sausage. Cut the dough into 14 – 16 even slices and form into individual mini loaf shapes. Place one mini dough loaf per pan opening. The dough should fill about 2/3 of the pan opening. Cover the filled mini loaf pans with a damp towel. Store in a warm dry place and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the mini loaves for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. You may need to rotate the pans halfway through to ensure even baking. Lightly brush the golden tops with melted butter before serving.
Authors Note: It is extremely important to heat your milk to exactly 120 degrees. I always heat it in the microwave and test the temperature with my thermometer. If the milk is too hot, the yeast will die and not allow the dough to rise. If the milk is too cold, the yeast will not activate and you will end up with a pile of dough junk.