By Kevin Williams
When I first saw the title of this recipe, I imagined warm, sweet bread with swirls of maple inside. But when I looked at the recipe I quickly saw that that probably wouldn't be the case.
For those who care about such things, the sugar's role in any bread recipe is primarily to "feed" the yeast and creates a faster rising. But you wouldn't have to have sugar in the bread at all, the recipe would still work, it might just take longer to rise.
So, I quickly realized that this "maple bread" wasn't really maple-y at all, it is just a basic bread recipe that uses maple syrup in place of sugar for the "yeast feeding." I certainly could not detect even a hint of maple in the final flavor.
Seeing how easy this recipe was and how low on bread we were, though, this seemed like a perfect "pandemic baking" project with my girls. Below are some pictures, with a few more thoughts in the captions.
This recipe, by the way, comes to us from an Amish woman in Maine where, not surprisingly, maple syrup is used a lot in place to sugar there in almost all recipes. Nothing like a natural sugar straight from the trees! This recipe is so simple. We had it mixed and kneaded in what had to have been 15 minutes, allow it to rise for an hour, and then bake it. It really is a delightful, simple bread with a great taste. Just don't expect "maple bread." The recipe calls for organic Maine maple syrup and in a perfect world, that is what you'd use, but use any syrup you have on hand. Heck, I'd think even pancake syrup would work. Enjoy!
- 1¼ cups very warm water (but not boiling)
- ¼ cup organic Maine maple syrup
- ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 6 cups white flour
- In a large bowl, mix the maple syrup with the warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
- Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes; then divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well-oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
- Remove loaves from pans and place on cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing.