Basic Bread                                                                      Bread 101

When first leaning how to bake good bread, it's good to start with a Basic bread recipe.  Something that will taste good but doesn't take a lot of work, time, and thought.  

 

A basic bread recipe should be fairly simple and pretty much fool-proof.  On your first few attempts, you don't want to get discouraged.  In fact, you want to succeed - that loaf of bread should have you and your family wanting more!

 

Think about the aroma.  Think about the freshness.  Imagine the compliments you'll get from your family or friends when even a basic loaf of bread comes out golden brown, the smell pulling you towards the kitchen.  

 

Are you ready?  Lets start with a basic white or whole wheat loaf.  The two recipes are shown below, with explanations on how simple it really is to make a good loaf of basic white or whole wheat bread.

For these two recipes, the only difference is the type of flour used and the amount of water.  Otherwise, everything is the same, including the mixing, rising, shaping and baking.

Basic White Bread

 

Ingredients

3 cups white all-purpose flour.

1 packet instant yeast.

3 TBS sugar

1 cup warm water

1 1/4 tsp salt

 

 

Basic Whole Wheat Bread

 

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat flour.

1 packet instant yeast.

3 TBS sugar

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 1/4 tsp salt

 

 

For these recipes, you will do the following:

  • Mix all the ingredients at once.

  • Knead the dough.

  • Let the dough rise till double in size. 

  • Shape the loaf into the pan.

  • Let the dough rise in the pan.

  • Bake the loaf - Yum!

Directions

If mixing by hand: 

Add the flour, yeast, sugar, water and salt to a large mixing bowl.  Using a strong spoon, mix until the dough has come together, then drop it on the counter and knead about 5 minutes until the dough is stretchy, elastic and smooth.

 

How to Knead

Pull the dough together, then push the top part of the dough away from you with the palm of your hand.  Fold the dough again and repeat this motion again and again until the dough is stretchy, elastic and smooth.

 

Let the dough rise in the bowl on the counter until double   (30 - 60 minutes).

 

If mixing by electric mixer (KitchenAid or Bosch-type):  

Add the flour, yeast, sugar, water and salt to the mixing bowl.  Using the bread attachmenet, mix and knead the dough about 5 minutes until the dough is stretchy, elastic and smooth.

 

Whether by hand or by mixer, you want a soft(er) dough.  Not so sticky that it sticks to your hand and not so firm that it doesn't come together.

 

(See Kneading on the Bread Science link).

 

Let the dough rise in the bowl on the counter until double   (30 - 60 minutes).

 

Final Rise and Bake

  1. Place the dough on the counter.  Punch the dough down to express all the air.

  2. Spread or roll out the dough as if you are making a pizza.  Use some additional flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking.  

  3. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 8 inches long, tuck in the ends and place in a greased 8.5 x 4.5 inch bread pan.

  4. Let rise until the dough is about 1/2 inch above the pan.

  5. Bake at 330 degrees for about 23-25 minutes until golden brown. 

  6. Take out of the oven and place the loaf on a cooling shelf or rack.  

  7. Wait...Wait... Wait...  Ok - Eat!  And remember, butter always makes bread better.  :)

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