03 April 2014

basic bread recipe

By request, this is what I do to bake bread every 4 or 5 days.

In a really large bowl:
3 cups "hand-hot" hot water - put your hand under the faucet and when it gets hot to the point that you can still put your hand under it but it's getting close to getting too hot, that's where you want it.
4 tsp yeast - I have no idea how many individual packets that would be. We don't buy the packets, we buy it the little jars or the frozen bags.
3/4 cup sugar

Stir them together and put in your oven - turned off, light on - for 10 or 15 minutes until the yeast is foamy.

Add to the bowl:
1 egg
1/3 cup veg oil
3 cups flour
3 tsp salt

Stir it together, then add another 3 cups of flour. The dough will still be pretty runny.

This is when we put it in the mixer for the kneading - we have a food processor with a dough blade (we're still wishing for a Kitchenaid), and we put it in a third at a time and add more flour about a half-cup at a time until the dough gets to the consistency that we want. It's usually 3 or 4 more cups of flour. Adam likes it a bit more sticky than I do. I just watch for it pulling off the sides of the mixer. This can be done by hand - it will just take a bit longer to get everything kneaded in.

We use a mix of regular white flour (unbleached, if that matters to you) and whole wheat flour. I go with 3 or 4 cups of wheat flour and the rest is white. The more wheat flour you add, the lower it will rise and it will be a lot more compact. If you like big poofy loaves of bread, don't use very much wheat flour.

Another hint - sift every bit of flour through a sifter as it's added. We didn't at first but then read something online that suggested it. We tried it and sifting the flour has made a huge difference in how the bread turns out. It's a lot lighter through the loaf.

When all the dough is mixed and kneaded into the consistency that you want, let it rise in the oven, still with the oven turned off and the light on. I don't know why this works to create the appropriate warm temperature for rising bread, but it does. Do this twice - rise, punch down, rise, punch down. This will take a couple of hours.

After the second punch down, separate the dough into 3 loaves and put them in the pans to rise a 3rd time. When they get to the top of the bread pans, you're ready to bake - 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. And then you're done! Wrap it in plastic wrap to put in the freezer if you want it for later.

This can take 4 or 5 hours with all the rising, so don't expect to have this ready for dinner if you're starting at 4 pm. This is something to start in the morning for lunch or dinner.


Mandapanda said...

That doesn't look very basic to me...but I am just starting out, and machineless. All I have is a hand mixer - that is IT.

Mandapanda said...

I also don't have a sifter.