Thursday, April 17, 2008

Homemade Bread

Today I got inspired to bake a loaf of bread from scratch. I'm not sure what did it. Back in March, my big sister Jessica did a series of posts on her blog all about bread. So, perhaps that planted the seed in my mind to attempt it.

Technically, I HAVE baked bread before. Well, I put the ingredients in the bread maker and set the timer. Does that count? And I guess, I HAVE made zucchini bread...but, that is full of sugar (and chocolate chips the way I make it). I have never made just a plain old loaf of sandwich bread. So, for whatever reason, I decided that today would be the day I bake my first loaf of bread. Just plain old bread that I could slather with butter.

So, I "googled" homemade bread and came across a blog post that describes (with pictures) how to make homemade bread. Really, it isn't that hard especially if you've got a mixer to do the manual labor, which thanks to my hubby I've got a lovely KitchenAid. The result? A nice tasty loaf. I'm not sure if it would work with sandwiches -- it seemed a bit on the delicate side. But, it was wonderful with butter. Ella even wanted some after dessert tonight. I would say that it was a success. I'll probably try to keep making it and experiment with recipes and try out some new things. But, I may just have to start exercising if that's the case. I think we may go through a lot more bread (and butter) if I bake it at home!

For those who are interested, here's what I did:

Homemade Bread

1 package yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
nonstick cooking spray
  1. In a warmed mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

  2. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add to the mixing bowl along with the milk, sugar and salt. Stir it well.

  3. Add two cups of flour. Turn on the mixer (with dough hook attachment) and start stirring. Add 1/4 cup more of flour every minute or so until the dough is slightly sticky but cleans the sides of the bowl.

  4. Keep the mixer on and let it "knead" the dough for ten minutes.

  5. Remove the dough from the mixer and form into a ball. Put the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for about an hour. It should about double in size.

  6. Punch the dough down. Lay it on a floured work surface and spread it into a rectangular shape. One side should be roughly the length of your bread loaf pan and the other side should be about 1-1/2 lengths of the pan. Use some flour if you need to. Then roll it up, place it seam side down in the pan and tuck the ends under. Let it rise for another hour.

  7. Bake it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let it cool completely before slicing. You'll want to use a serrated knife to cut it. Enjoy!


FishMama said...

That is beautiful! Nice job!

Janel said...

Thanks Fishmama! I thought it looked pretty good too. I used white flour for my first attempt, but I would like to experiment with whole wheat and try to make a healthier bread. Do you have any suggestions or recipes?