Helpful Homemade Bread Guide

When I eat well, I feel great!  Making homemade bread can eliminate a lot of weird ingredients (preservatives and MSG) from your diet and save your family ton of money.  Homemade bread costs only a little change to make, especially if you buy flour in bulk.  I keep my different types of flours in plastic tubs in my pantry.  If you’re trying to cut back on gluten or carbs, bake your bread in smaller loaf pans and slice it thin with an electric knife.  In winter, it keeps for about a week on the counter, stored in ziplock bags.  It will keep even longer in the fridge.  In summer, it lasts about 4 days unless kept refrigerated.

You can always freeze extra loaves by placing them in greased ziplock bags at the last stage of raising (after it’s shaped) for later use.  The dough freezes very well.  Also, there are many uses for stale bread – croutons for soups and salads, French toast, crab cakes, crab imperial and egg dishes (that you can whip up the night before) are all great uses for stale homemade bread.  I’ll be posting all of these recipes soon!

Old recipes tickle me, so here is “Bread Making:  General Directions for Bread Making” from a very old cookbook that belonged to my Great-Grandma.

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Please don’t fear yeast.  Use instant dry yeast.  It’s easy.  Put your yeast in the mixer bowl.  Pour hot liquid on it.  It will bloom (puff up and look like it’s covered with teeny tiny bubbles) and then it’s just a matter of adding the rest of the ingredients and kneading.  Generally, hot tap water will do the trick.  If you can just barely stand the temperature of the hot water on your skin, it’s perfect (remember, your yeast is cold, the bowl is cold and transporting it from the sink to the bowl will drop it a few degrees).

If you’re going to make bread or dough with milk and you have to use the stove, buy a candy thermometer to clip to the side of the pot and heat the liquid.  I heat mine up to 135 degrees F because my yeast is cold, the bowl and the measuring cup are all cold.  The actual temperature at which yeast will bloom is 110 – 115 degrees F.  You will have to experiment with it and note, on your recipe, what works for you!  If your yeast doesn’t bloom, try again.  Your liquid is either too hot or too cold.  Keep instant dry yeast in the fridge in a ziplock and it lasts a looong time.

When you go to the market, just browse the flour section.  King Arthur has so many types of flours available now, it’s amazing.  I used to have to go to the Springs store to buy my more unusual flour types, now I can pick it up in many regular markets.  We recently also made the investment of buying a super blender, so I’m excited about trying to make my own flour!!!

Once you’ve figured out the yeast, you can check Pinterest for other homemade bread recipes, then start knocking them out.  It is so fun to practice, taste and analyze the types of bread and the recipes.  I enjoy baking on the weekends!

Anyhoo, here’s the blooming yeast.

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Yay!  You did it!!

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Add the other ingredients; when the dough sticks to the back of a spoon, switch to the dough hook.  Add the flour gently.  Carefully.  My first time, I created a flour bomb that exploded like a white missile.  POOF!  The kitchen disappeared until it all settled.

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Add just enough flour for the dough to just barely clean the bowl.  Sticky dough will make softer bread, but it’s very hard to handle.  Sticks to everything!!!  You will have to butter your hands, grease your arms and slather your whole body in EVOO.  Ain’t got time for that!

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Let the mixer knead it.  Set the stove timer for 5 minutes or so for kneading, then flop the big ball into a huge greased bowl.  Flip it over, so the top is greased, too.  My first time, I did not put the dough in a big enough bowl.  The dough started coming out – over the sides.  It grew so much that I thought it was going to come out of the bowl, drip down the side of the radiator and slowly take over the house.  Ahhhhhhhh!

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Fear the dough.  Not the yeast.

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Size and shape your dough however it will work best for your family.  We slice it thin and I make several small loaves.  You are the Bread Boss.  You decide . . . rolls, cinnies, big loaves, small loaves.  It’s all up to you!  Just please, make sure you have plenty of room above the loaves when you put them in your oven.  The bread continues to raise after it’s in the oven and it will stick to the bottom of the rack above it or even the element.  Then you will brand your bread.  And you will be sad.

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When your bread comes out, butter the tops (if you want them to be soft) and let them sit in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan after that and allow it to cool on a wire rack.  If  you do not take the bread out of the pan, it will get sweaty.  GROSS.  Also, make sure your bread is completely cooled before storing in ziplocks or it will create condensation in the bag and mold.

You’ve got this!

Here’s the Homemade White Bread Recipe!   http://www.fourmileridge.com/homemade-white-bread/

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