No Fear Bread

I like to bake.

It’s delicious and relaxing.

But I know some people get scared of yeast.

Fear, not so relaxing.

So for you, I share my most foolproof recipe.

I’ve made this hungover in college.  I’ve made it with my mother who fears yeast.  I’ve made it with my toddler niece.  With a mixer, by hand…. ALWAYS turns out.

When I make bread, I follow the rules.  This is a very by the book recipe.  I’d rather follow potentially unnecessary rules than not have delicious bread.

You need:

  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/4 c butter (softened if you remember!)
  • 3 c white flour
  • 3 c whole wheat flour (plus more if needed)
  • 1 t salt

So here’s what you do:  take 2 packets of yeast
You want instant, not “rapid rise”.  Rapid rise scares me.

Pour 2 1/4 c warm milk (warm = if you stick your finger in it’s noticeably  warm like a bathtub, but not hot.  If you’re fancy you can use a thermometer, but I don’t have one) into a mixing bowl.  Add the yeast and 1/3 c of honey.  Mix together, and let sit. This is called proofing the yeast.

After about 5 minutes you should have a foamy top on your mix.  Foamy = like this
I had no idea what they meant by “foamy”  when  I started making bread because I was too impatient.  Don’t be.  Foam = yeast alive = happy airy bread.

Either in a mixer with a dough hook or in a bowl with a spoon add in 1/4 c butter and the salt

If you’re mixing by hand, you wanna make sure the butter is slightly softened. In a mixer don’t worry.

Then flour, 1 c at a time, mixing between
If you’re doing this by hand after the first 3 or so cups you’ll be kneading the flour in a little.  You want your dough to become a solid mass.  If after 6 c total it’s still really sticky add more (up to 1 c) until it feels manageable.  Either in the mixer or by hand, mix until the gluten is formed.  You can watch this happen.  Mid way you get rips if you pull at it
But when it’s fully kneaded you can stretch out a small piece far enough to see light through the middle- called the windowpane test.
Cover it into a greased bowl and let it rise for an hour.
Shape it into loaves or rolls-this makes 2 loaves or 24 rolls.  Or 12 rolls and 1 loaf if you’re me and have bread ADD.  If you’re doing loaves, you just roll the dough into a rectangle, then roll it up, and put it in a greased loaf pan
I’ve been digging on rectangle rolls lately-all you do is roll the dough out into a large rectangle and cut into 12 pieces.  Easy and  pretty.
Those just get set out on a cookie sheet.  Either way, let your dough rise, covered, for another hour.

Then bake it at 375 for ~20 minutes for the rolls, 30-45 min for the bread.  It’s done when it sounds hollow.

“Sounds hollow” was another one of those things I didn’t get when I started baking.  Bread looks done before it is done, and if you’re me you’ll panic that it must be burning and take it out too soon.  It’s not.

I like to butter the top a bit
Then eat!
Store it in the fridge-homemade bread molds faster.  Because it’s lacking chemicals.

It makes killer rolls-airy, some good texture from the whole wheat
So bread-phobes, give it a try.  And email me if you have issues.  Seriously.

6 responses to “No Fear Bread

  1. Oh my goodness. I’m so scared to make bread. You make it look so easy and delicious.

  2. Better than storing in the fridge, store it in the freezer! Rolls are easy-peasy, or you can pre-slice a loaf before freezing. Then you just have to grab one or two pieces in the morning and it will thaw to fresh-baked perfection by lunchtime (to be eaten with canned soup or fillings or whatever). Even if you keep it in the fridge, homemade bread dries out awfully fast.

  3. this still kind of freaks me out. I want you to watch over me while I make the bread. You are a good teacher, right?

  4. Okay – my first loaf of bread (and a dozen rolls) are in the oven right now. The success of tonight’s dinner is on your shoulders! 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial, it encouraged me to be brave and bake bread for the first time.

  5. Pingback: Eat your heart out Rachel Ray | I'm an Eating Machine!

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