5 1/2 Steps for Homemade Bread

 

This morning was a productive morning, I was able to go to Spin Class, do a load of laundry, make homemade bread and spend some quality time with the dog all before anybody else in the house woke up.

I know what you’re thinking, homemade bread?? Are you kidding me? Who has time for that?  The answer is you do, just 30 minutes and you get homemade bread and the envy of everyone who tries it.  I mean seriously, look at this!

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Bread has been given a bad rap. People think it’s so much more convenient to go to the store and buy a loaf of bread or rolls than it is to make it.  Or if you are going to make it you have to pull that heavy bread maker out of the basement (or storage unit), buy all the ridiculous ingredients that nobody keeps in their cupboard (powdered milk – seriously??), and wait for like 3 hours.  No thanks.

A couple of side notes here:

There are some tricks to making bread that can ensure you get amazing bread every time.  I’ve highlighted them in pink below.

If you bake it right away your bread will be dense, the longer it rises the less dense it will be.

Step 1:

If you want to bake your bread right away, you need to preheat your oven to 425 (Preheat just means turn on your oven while you get things ready – some ovens have a red light that turns off when your oven is at the desired temperature, other ovens beep when they are ready.  It doesn’t matter, the oven will be ready by the time the bread is).  If you are going to let it rise for a bit, skip this step for now.

Step 2:

Mix together 2 cups very warm tap water (if you can’t put your hand under the running water, it’s too hot), 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar.  Mix this really well, you shouldn’t be able to see any yeast grains when you are done mixing.  Let this sit until it looks like this:

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See how there is a layer of foam on the top?  This is good.

Step 3:

While you are waiting for your yeast to get foamy, mix together in a separate bowl 3-4 cups of flour (I have found the more humid the day, the more flour I need.  I assume there is some science behind this – I don’t know it), 1 teaspoon of salt, and if you want to make it garlic bread, add about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Step 4:

Once your yeast is foamy, add it to your flour mixture and mix it together.
Baking Tip: Wet mixture goes into dry mixture to avoid clumps
I would recommend using your hands for this part (Did you wash them??).   You will probably need to add more flour as you go, you want the dough to not stick to your hands when you are done mixing it.  If it is sticky, you need more flour, if it is too dry (won’t clump together) you need a touch more warm water.

If you haven’t turned your oven on yet – now is the time to do it. Remember 425 degrees.

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Another baking tip: Grab a baking sheet, some oil, and salt.  

Pour about 3 quarter size drops on your baking sheet, add a pinch of salt to each quarter size drop of oil (literally just pinch the salt with your forefinger and thumb).  Now smush it around, you want to cover the entire pan, it should feel greasy and gritty.

Step 5:

Form your dough balls (4-5 of them) and place them on your baking sheet.

If you are baking right away – stick them in the oven and come back at 16-19 minutes.

If you are waiting, cover them with a damp tea towel (if it’s not damp the dough will stick to it).  This is a good time to clean up, go have a shower, call your mother, whatever.  I usually let mine rise for about 20 minutes.

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Step 5 1/2 (or Step 6 if you want to get technical):

Put them in the oven and bake them for 16-19 minutes, they should be golden brown on the top and bottom.

Baking Tip: If you want a crusty outer layer and a moist inner layer, throw about 5 or 6 ice cubes in a baking dish in the bottom of your oven and do not open your oven for at least 15 minutes.  The steam will create beautiful French-style loaves.

Homemade Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups
    Very Warm Water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons
    yeast
  • 2 tablespoons
    sugar
  • 1 teaspoon
    salt
  • 3-4 cups
    flour
  • 1 teaspoon
    garlic powder (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. Whisk together water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until mixture has a foam top
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and garlic powder
  3. combine the wet mixture with the dry
  4. knead together until dough is no longer sticky
  5. Optional – let rise for 20 minutes
  6. Bake at 425 for 16-19 minutes

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