How to make bread

I know a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of making bread. Don’t be afraid, I’m here for you. Nothing beats a fresh loaf of bread on a cold winter’s night. Unless it’s a hot bowl of soup. Hmmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Back to the bread. Take a look at the recipe, then I’ll walk you through it.

  • 7/8 Cup warm Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Yeast
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour

Not too scary, right?

Ok, let’s start with the water.  You want it to be about 110 degrees. Not hot, but not cold. Warm. If you are unsure, err on the cold side, because hot water will kill your yeast.

So, throw your yeast in the bowl, add the water. Also add the sugar. It’s not necessary to stir at this point. Throw it all the bowl together, and walk away for about 10 minutes. Find something else to do. Fold a load of laundry, get on Facebook, or just lay on the couch. Your mixture will go from this

to this. Notice how happy and bubbly the yeast is now?

Now you can add the remaining ingredients. I like to only add 2 cups of flour, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup just in case I need it. Turn your stand mixer to 2 or 4, and let it all mix up. Then take a look at your dough and see what it needs.

Too gooey. It’s not forming a ball or cleaning the sides of the bowl. Let’s add that last 1/4 cup of flour.

That’s looking better. Now we just need to knead it! And by we, I mean the kitchenaid. It kneads real good. Just turn it to 4 and walk away. Let it do it’s thing for 3 or 4 minutes, then come back and give it a final check.

Looks great! It’s forming a ball, and it has cleaned the sides of the bowl nicely. There may be more exact ways of measuring when the dough is just right, but those are the criteria I use.

Now just leave the dough in the bowl, cover it, and leave in a warm place for at least an hour.  The back of the stove is good. Especially if there is soup simmering on the front of the stove.

We want the dough to rise in the bowl. This is called the first rise. Pretty brilliant, right?

Good job, dough. Now through the dough onto a floured surface and punch it down a few times with your hands. Shape into a loaf and place on a greased pan.

Now cover again, and let it sit (again!) for the 2nd rise. Should take 30-45 minutes. Here’s how it will look when it is ready.

At this point you can throw it into a preheated 400 degree oven. Or you can jazz it up a bit by brushing with some egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp water) and cutting diagonal slits on top.  (Note: it only takes 1 or 2 tbsp of egg wash. Don’t go throwing all the egg on there or you’ll have fried eggs on top of your bread.)

Now bake! 400 degrees for 25 minutes. You want the bread to be nice and brown on top, and to sound hollow when you knock on it. Again, not so scientific, but bread making really isn’t. Just trust me. It has a certain sound.

Look! Bread! You did it!

So to recap the main points:

  • Add sugar and yeast to warm water and let sit for 10 minutes
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Knead for 3-5 minutes
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Punch down, shape into loaf, and let rise 30 minutes
  • Brush with egg wash, bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Not too bad, right? 2010 is the year of bread. Not really, but it could be. So learn to bake bread this year. It’s worth it.

And I’m sorry the pictures go from natural light to nasty flash light. I lost the daylight, ok? It gets late early these days…..

Don’t forget to get your raffle tickets to win a Starbucks gift card! Info here

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    • jon van gilder
    • January 9th, 2010

    I am now powerful hungry! Need some butter and honey…Billy Bob says, “Deelishous!”

  1. I am so trying this when we get home. I have never once used the little bread kneader on my kitchen aid!

    • Shammi
    • January 18th, 2010

    Made a loaf tonight.. delicious! Even without the help of a kitchenaid, maybe after Mother’s Day that won’t be a problem. 🙂

  1. January 10th, 2010

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