Monday, May 5, 2014

Homemade Bread (for Beginners)

If you know me personally or have known me closely for a long time, chances are you have either heard about or tasted my mom's incomparable homemade bread. It's ridiculous and amazing and delicious; the stuff that bready, carb-laden dreams are made of. People who ate it ten years ago (or longer) can still remember the way it tastes!
...I'm not here with THAT recipe, though. To be completely honest, I'm very intimidated by the prospect of making HER bread, mostly because the people who've been fortunate enough to try it have all developed a strong emotional attachment to it (seriously), so their expectations are always high--and rightly so. Her bread is awesome. She's got the special touch! That's gotta be why it's called "Comfort Bread" :)

In my small group at church last weekend, we came up with an idea to make bread and donate it to the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter, so as usual, I set out boldly to scour the internet for a dummy-proof homemade bread recipe that didn't scare the pants off of me! This one fit the bill, even though I have NEVER baked bread before.
Admittedly, as a child, I was much less interested in the process of bread-making than I was the product! It's definitely been my loss, but a culinary deficit I plan to rectify in the very near future. My mom has agreed to (very closely) supervise all of my attempts to recreate her bread until I get it right. Until then, though, I've been very pleased with the outcome of this one-loaf recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (cow's milk, almond milk, any milk)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
Directions:

Grease a loaf pan; set aside. In large bowl, add the warm water. Slowly stir in dry yeast; let it sit for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to bubble; then add salt, sugar, shortening/butter, and milk to bowl. Stir.

Slowly incorporate the first two cups of flour. If needed, begin adding more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough chases the spoon around the bowl.
*Note: You do not need to use all of the flour called for in this recipe, or you may need more flour than the recipe denotes. These amounts vary depending on many factors, including weather, which is why most bread recipes only give an approximate amount of flour needed.
Turn dough out onto floured board and knead for five to ten minutes, adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
Put dough into a buttered bowl, and turn it over so that all sides of the dough are buttered. Cover and let rise in warm spot for 1 hour. (I heated my oven to 200 then turned it off and let the bread rise in there).

After the first rise, remove the dough from the bowl and return to the floured board; punch down slightly and knead for another minute or so. Form into a loaf and set into prepared loaf pan; cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Optional: score the top of the bread with three slashes. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown; turn out onto cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing. I melted a little butter to brush over the top for a nice, golden sheen. I definitely slathered a fresh piece with some strawberry jam...and it was DELICIOUS.
Nutrition Facts-- Servings: 12 Size: 1 slice bread Calories: 134 • Fat: 1.6 g • Carbs: 25.6 g • Fiber: 1 gProtein: 3.8 g • Sugars: 1.5 g

2 comments:

  1. Tried this tonight and it turned out really well!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Jill! I'm so happy to hear that worked out for you! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Enjoy your weekend!

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