If you have attended one of my classes, you may have heard me refer to my bread recipe. This is my go-to recipe when store bought bread too expensive and while I am not a bread guru, who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about baking a good loaf of bread, I can tell you this recipe has never let me down.
I was intimidated about the idea of baking my own bread, but decided to give it a try. After many trial and errors, I discovered this recipe, tweaked it a bit, and my loaves have come out wonderful. And you get THREE loaves of bread with just one package of yeast. That’s a bargain in itself.
I have to also add there is nothing like the smell of bread baking to lift the mood on cold winter days.
The complete recipe can be found below, but this bread is so easy to make that you probably have all the ingredients laying in your kitchen RIGHT NOW. So gather up your ingredients and get ready to bake some yummy and so delish bread that works great for sandwiches, toast and anything else you think of.
Now that we have everything we need out and ready lets get started.
First thing first, this is really when you want to make sure your water is WARM, not hot, but not cold either. Put 2 cups warm water in your bowl and dissolve the 2/3 cup sugar in the bowl, then stir in the yeast. I read somewhere that you want to use plastic, wooden or glass spoons and bowls when working with yeast. (Like I said, I am not a bread guru, but I get good results following that advice). Once you get it all stirred in, it will become a tan color liquid (not all the yeast will dissolve, it will sit on top of the water, that is okay.). Then walk away from the bowl and leave it sit for about 10 minutes to let the yeast and sugar do their thing. Make sure that you sit it somewhere that it won’t be disturbed by big gusts of air or people bumping into it so that it can really get growing.
Add in 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and the two eggs, make sure you mix these in well, you don’t want chunks of egg in your bread. Now it’s time for the flour. I say 6-9 cups because you are making 3 loaves from this recipe. Add your flour in 1/2 cup at a time, and here is where it is entirely appropriate to make a mess of your counter while you are measuring out your flour because you are going to need some flour on the countertop anyway. I hand stir, I wish I had a fancy countertop mixer so make sure you bring your muscles if you don’t have one. Once you get a nice thick texture, it should start to form a ball while you are stirring, and some of it is sticking to the sides of the bowl, (see picture below) you are ready to move on.
Here is where it really get fun. Remove any jewelry that you have on your hands. I have to add this because I am the type who will typically forget and have to clean my wedding rings afterwards.
Plop all that dough on the floured counter and work it. This is also the part my kids love to come in and help. Coat your hands in flour and keep adding more flour onto your surface and into the dough until you get a nice, smooth elastic texture. It will take about 10 minutes to get there, set a timer, because while you are kneading dough, 10 minutes seems FOREVER. (It does help to think of someone you really don’t like, and imagine that your dough is them.) Kneading bread is one of the GREATEST ways to release your aggression in a safe way. Once you get there roll your dough into a nice ball.
Clean out the bowl that you used to mix up your dough, or grab a new bowl, and put a tablespoon of oil in the bottom of the bowl or spray it with Pam. Put your dough ball in there and flip it around a couple of times to coat your dough ball in a nice thin layer of oil.
Now most recipes say to let your dough rise in a warm safe place. The BEST place I have found is my microwave. Before I put the bowl in the microwave I heat up a mug of water for a few minutes to get the microwave warmed up inside, cover your bowl with some plastic wrap, a clean kitchen towel or just trust that no one is going to open or turn on your microwave and set your bowl of dough in there. Set a timer for about an hour and walk away from the kitchen, don’t even worry about cleaning up yet, because we are going to need that flour on the counter again. If you don’t want to put it in the microwave, or don’t have one, go ahead and sit it on top of your stove covered with some plastic wrap or a clean towel. But where ever you decide to put it, just leave it alone for an hour.
BEEP…. Timer went off and it should have at LEAST doubled in size.Mine almost fell out of the bowl, and that has happened a few times. Now that you have it all big and fluffy, give it a punch or two to deflate it. Remember that messy counter I told you to leave dirty? Make sure you have some flour still on there (not a lot just enough to not make it stick) and divide your dough into three equal sections. Then give each section a few more minutes (about 3- 5) of your pent up aggression. Shape your loaves. The easiest way I have found to do this is to pull my dough into a rectangular shape and starting from the long side, roll it up tight, and tuck the ends under, so the top looks nice and pretty. Do this with all three sections and place them each in a well oiled bread pan. I typically press a little on the top of my loaves to make it squish out even in the pan, just because I think it looks prettier that way.
Pop those loaves back in the microwave, or on top of the stove covered for another hour. If you only want to make 1 loaf right now, you can wrap the other two loaves in plastic wrap and toss it in the freezer at this point. (When you want to make those frozen ones, just pull them out of the freezer, unwrap, put in an oiled pan and let sit to thaw and rise for about 3 hours or so.) Let the dough rise in the pan for about an hour. It should rise again very nicely until it has risen over the top of the pan. At some during this last rising make sure you have preheated your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aren’t they so pretty? All that is left is to pop them in the oven. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees, and place your loaves on the middle rack for about 30 minutes. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN until you are ready to check on it. I typically check at 25 minutes at the earliest to make sure I don’t overcook it. To check and see if a loaf of bread is done, give it a tap on the top of it, if it sounds hollow inside it is finished.
When you take them out of the oven, immediately flip them over onto a cooling rack. The longer they sit in the pan after baking them, the harder it is to get them out. Let them cool for a little bit, apparently it isn’t good to slice into bread straight from the oven…who knew? (shh, I won’t tell if you don’t though)
It smells so good it is hard not to cut into right away, I know.
This makes a pretty dense bread that is very versatile. Use it for toast, sandwiches, cut it a little thicker and make garlic toast, add some Italian seasoning and garlic to the dough and make Italian bread, the options with this dough are endless. I had a friend say she even used different flour and it turned out just as well for her.
I don’t use anything special other than a bread knife to slice my bread, and since it is dense it is easy to slice smaller slices. The key to slicing bread is to let the knife cut it, don’t press down on it. Use a sawing motion for the knife to glide right down the loaf, trying not to put much pressure on it.
But, here is my finished product:You can whip up some easy “gourmet” butters for this bread too as a snack. My favorite is onion herb butter. Toss some chopped green onion, oregano and Italian seasons in a bowl of butter, mix well, spread and enjoy. :-) P.S. I don’t care for onions either, but this butter is delish!
|Easy Homemade Bread||
- 2 c. Warm Water
- 2/3 C. Sugar
- 1 pkg. Active Dry Yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
- 2 Eggs
- 6-9 C. All Purpose Flour
- Mix water, sugar and yeast together in large mixing bowl, leave sit for approx. 10 minutes.
- Add salt, oil and eggs to yeast mixture, mix well
- Slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a nice thick ball
- Knead on a floured surface for approx. 10 minutes, let rise, covered, in an oiled bowl for 1 hour.
- Punch down, and divide into three loaves, knead each one for approx 3 minutes and shape
- Place in a well oiled loaf/bread pan
- Allow to rise in pan for 1 more hour.
- Preheat oven to 350. and Bake for 30 minutes.
- Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove from pan immediately and cool.
- Slice and enjoy.
Craving more? Browse the recipe index for more easy recipes.