Saturday, April 17, 2010

Basic Bread Making

Before the days of sliced wonder bread, the lady of the home had to bake her bread fresh daily. Bread making is a lost art (for some). It is a lost art that is making a come back. With mother's staying closer to home and the desire to live simpler lifestyles, bread making is a blessing and a valued skill.

This recipe is a basic traditional white bread recipe. Always, use unbleached flour (in fact, just stop buying bleached flour altogether). I use half white flour and half wheat flour for my breads. This recipe will make two loaves but can easily be cut in half to make one loaf. I cut the recipe in half and always make one loaf at a time because I love fresh bread daily.


  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour or half wheat flour (I like to sift but not necessary)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons regular or active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups very warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter melted

Lets get started. If you own a Kitchen Aid mixer, great, but not necessary. I have only had mine for a few months and I was baking bread for much longer just fine.

1. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in a large bowl (or KA mixer). I like to put my yeast to the side of the bowl (see below picture) and then add warm water into yeast pile.

2. Wait 1-2 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. See (below) how foamy the yeast gets when activated. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, or if using KA mixer use dough hook and turn on low speed. If hand mixing, scrape bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl as you go. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time
, to make dough easy to handle.

3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface.

Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.

4. Form into a smooth ball.

Place dough in a large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes or until double.
Now, walk away. Take a break....drink some iced tea, vacuum the Cheerios out of the couch.

5. Grease with shortening two loaf pans if making the full recipe.
Gently push fist into dough to deflate. (If making two loaves, divide the dough in half).

6. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface. About 18x9 inch rectangle. (I know, mine is never a rectangle but it works):)

7. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9in. side.

8. Press each end with with side of had to seal. Fold ends under loaf.

9. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35-50 minutes or until double.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Move oven rack to low position.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; Cool.

Slather with real butter and enjoy!

If you make bread, please let me know how it turns out.
Happy homesteading to you all!

1 comment:

  1. I have always been intimidated about baking bread, unless it is cornbread!
    'Bet your house smells great.


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