This bread recipe is one my husband’s mother made. Mable Kilby was quite a cook, and I’ve heard all Larry’s siblings talk about her exploits in the kitchen. I found this recipe in a cookbook she owned, written in her own hand. It is easy to make, fast, and always turns out perfectly. She named it after Clark Bradley, who loved it. (Clark was a little boy at the time. I’m sure he still loves this bread.) Here’s the recipe:
1-½ cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm
¼ pound butter (one stick)
2 packages yeast dissolved in ½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 beaten eggs
7 cups flour
Scalding the milk is easy – you do this to make sure there is nothing in the milk that will interfere with the yeast. This was a must before pasteurization, but now is just as good an idea. You can do this carefully in the microwave, but beginners might want to do it on the stove in a double boiler, over boiling water; you can add the butter along with the milk and also put the sugar and salt in this mixture. Cool this down to lukewarm before proceeding. You can proof the yeast while the milk mixture is cooling. For a fast cool, suspend the pan in a bowl of ice and water; in about 10 minutes, voila! After proofing the yeast, add to the milk mixture, then sift in the flour, first putting four cups in and mixing, then adding the rest until it comes away from the sides of the bowl (I confess I cheat here and use my KitchenAid® mixer, with the dough hook, and skipping the kneading.)
If you decide to do it the old fashioned way, and knead, turn out and knead for about 13 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Then put in a greased or buttered bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1-½ hours. Punch down, let rise again, then turn out on a floured board, make into three loaves, and let rise until above the edge of the pans. Here’s how I do this: I weigh the dough with a digital kitchen scale, and then divide into three equal pieces. Then I take one piece at a time and flatten it out, using a rolling pin, then roll it up, fold in the ends, and place in the buttered pan.
Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes, until golden, lowering the heat to 350 after 15 minutes. Yesterday, I turned the heat off at 28 minutes and let the bread stay in the oven for another 10. Worked great. Test for doneness by tapping the loaf – if it sounds hollow, it is done. Turn out on a rack and slather with butter, and let cool. To store, it is best to put in paper sacks after the loaves have cooled completely. After 24 hours, you can wrap in plastic and freeze. Sometimes I make a double batch, and freeze the leftovers.