Okay, so I don't know about you but if I look at a recipe and it seems long, complicated, or not worth the trouble I lose interest quickly. This is why it took me so long to jump into making my own bread. All of the recipes I found put me off of the idea of making my own bread. But I finally got over it and found one to try. Then another. And so now I'm to the point where I put my own recipe together. And it's easy, no frills, not complicated! It really only takes a little measuring, a little elbow grease, and a couple of hours of patience! No need for a big clunky bread maker taking up precious space, this is an old fashion oven baked recipe. It's only 13 steps, and three of those are pretty much just waiting for it to do something on it's own. Plus for two others you get to hit something! So really it's more like 8 steps!
1 package of active dry yeast (or 2-1/4 teaspoons if you buy it in a container or "brick")
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
½ tablespoon salt
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups bread flour (can also be done with all wheat or all bread flour if you prefer)
Extra flour and melted unsalted butter
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.
- Stir in milk, sugar, butter and salt until the mixture is well incorporated.
- Add flour(s). Mixture may be slightly sticky, if so add a little extra flour until a nice ball starts to form.
- Flour your hands and grab your dough ball.
- Knead, squish, twist, turn, and pull dough for about 10 minutes.
- Making dough into a ball place it in a large greased bowl, turn ball over so it get a complete greasing.
- Let sit in warm place, covered with a dish towel for an hour. Dough should rise and (approximately) double.
- Once dough has risen, punch it down, a few little punches should do!
- Shape dough into a loaf shape and place into greased loaf pan.
- Let sit in warm place, covered, for another hour.
- Again, loaf should have risen to approximately double.
- Brush melted butter over the top and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. I slice a line down the center for a nice split top loaf. When done loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove baked loaf from pan immediately to cool on a wire rack. Again brush melted butter on top of loaf.
A few tips:
-Wait until bread is completely cool to slice into it. Remember baking is science and everything has a reason. If you slice it when it's hot it will not turn out the same as if you wait.
-Make sure you let it cool on a wire rack, if it cools on or in a pan moisture will collect on the bottom and can contribute to molding.
-Store bread in a tight fitting container. The less air the better. I've found using a store bought bread bag actually does work best!
-Homemade bread has a shorter shelf life than store bought. It should be used up in 3 days. But if it does dry out it makes fabulous bread crumbs!