So, you have just been to all of the stores in your neighborhood, and there is no bread on the shelves. Don’t stress… buy yeast instead. What, you say? Why? Make your own bread. What better time to learn to make your own bread? You probably have the free time and the resources: yeast, flour, water, salt, and sugar. That’s all it takes to make a dough.
Although bread takes a little effort, the whole process is rewarding in numerous ways. Make it a family affair, start a tradition, teach your children to cook, get everyone involved.
Work out your stress on that dough!
This is a simple recipe that will produce a nice homey loaf of bread:
- 1 package of yeast (1/4 ounce)
- 2 cups of warm water (110 to 115 degrees) hot tap water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole grain flower, (if you have a gluten issue you can use gluten free flour)
Step 1: Get the kids together and measure the ingredients. The measurements should be very close to the recipe, so show them how to use the measuring cups and spoons you have hidden way in the back of a drawer.
Step 2: The yeast, it does not matter which kind you use: fresh, active dry or instant. However, beware yeast does have a shelf life. If you have some on hand check the expiration date. Trust me, if you use dead yeast you will waste your time and materials and wind up with a brick. If you don’t have some on hand, go get some before everyone else reads this article and starts hoarding yeast. Which won’t help because remember it has a shelf life!
Step 3: God bless the stand mixer. Drag it out. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water (not hot if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast). Add sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. If you don’t have a stand mixer now is the time to call in all the troops, yes even your wonderful strong superman.
For the mixer beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. If using superman prepare him to get sticky. Mix the dough until it forms a shaggy mass – not mess – mass, the point where the ingredients are well incorporated, and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour and keep mixing. Finally you have a nice dough.
Step 4: Turn onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough for about 6 – 8 minutes. Kneading means folding the dough over on itself and pushing in, turn 90 degrees and repeat. Have a greased bowl ready. Place the dough in the bowl and cover, keep in a warm place and let rise for about an hour.
Now here is the time to give the kids a break, praise your team and maybe sip an adult beverage – if you are so inclined.
Step 5: After the timer for an hour beeps, it’s punching time. Punch the dough down, imagine your boss or that rude person at the grocery store who was hoarding yeast. Here is where to take your frustrations out!
Now back to your floured surface. This recipe will make two loaves, so divide the dough in half and form it however you want. I chose the loose loaf, but you can put it in a loaf pan, a round ball, French bread, get creative. Place on your greased baking pan. Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel. Now you both rest for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. I like to baste the top with a little melted butter, but up to you. Once baked remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Step 6: EAT, slice your bread however you like it. It’s wonderful hot with butter or honey butter, later you can use the left over to make croutons or toast for bruschetta. It freezes well so freeze that second loaf for next week.
Now you’ve got bread so skip that grocery store stress, and enjoy some satisfaction and taste of that healthy homemade treat. I’m pretty certain your family will be happy to enjoy it with you! Have fun.