I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make: I sometimes watch food or cooking shows. I do watch more edgy options, like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, but occasionally also find myself sitting in front of Rachel Ray, Giada de Laurentiis or the Barefoot Contessa. I get great tips and techniques from the Contessa and great, easy recipes from Rachel and Giada (as a side note, some of Rachel's later episodes are far less annoying because I think she toned down her personality a bit).
The other day I watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa that was all about flour and it had a segment on White Honey Bread. Bf has been asking me to try bread for quite some time now and this recipe didn't require a baking stone and seemed pretty straight forward, so I thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately, this recipe, like almost all bread recipes, calls for a stand up mixer and a bread paddle. Not only do I not own either pieces of equipment, but I am quite certain they wouldn't fit in my kitchen. So I didn't a little internet research and determined I could combine my hand mixer and my own two arms instead. Also, the recipe traditionally produces two loaves and requires you to use two loaf pans. That's one of my biggest complaints with the Barefoot Contessa, she sort of assumes everyone has fancy, hoity toity materials, ingredients, and equipment. I only have one loaf pan, so I just halved the ingredients and hoped for the best.
There is a very widespread myth that bread is really hard to make. The truth is that sure, it takes a while what with the rising and such, but it's actually pretty simple, especially if you have a standing mixer. So, if you know you are going to be home for an afternoon or night, you should definitely give it a try.
Honey White Bread (two loaves)
from The Barefoot Contessa at Home
1/2 cup warm water, at 110 degrees (so I used 1/4 of a cup, you get the idea)
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm whole milk (110 degrees)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 extra-large egg yolks
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten