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Homemade Bread

Prep Time:

2 hours

Cook Time:

1 Hour

Serves:

2 Loafs

Level:

Beginners

About the Recipe

Homemade Bread is one of my favorite foods of all time. There really is nothing quite like a warm slice of freshhh bread served with a thick pat of butter on top. Mmmmm! This recipe is perfect. It’s simple to follow, takes about 2 hours to make and yields 2 loaves of wonderful bread. It’s quite versatile too, so feel free to use part whole wheat flour if you’d like. Brush butter on top when it’s out of the oven and partially cooled and everyone will thank you.

Remember to avoid sunken bread
The easiest and best way to avoid sunken bread is to use a cooking thermometer to check the inside of the loaf. Fully cooked bread will register 200°F on a thermometer.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 5-6 cups flour –You can use all-purpose flour OR bread flour!

Preparation

Instructions


  • In a large bowl, dissolve the 1 TBSP of the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.

  • Mix remaining sugar, salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Dough should be tacky and clean the sides of the bowl save for a small part at the bottom. Too much flour added in yields a dry loaf of bread, so if you're worried you added too much, add a bit more hot water, until you get the correct consistency.

  • Knead dough for 7 minutes. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  • Punch dough down. Knead for 1 minute and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into two greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-40 minutes. Cool, brush with butter and enjoy!


Notes


Recipe yields 2 standard loaves of bread


Nutrition


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 30mg | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1.2mg


Step 1 - assemble bread ingredients


You’ll need warm water, granulated sugar, instant OR active dry yeast, salt, vegetable or canola oil and flour. That’s it!


Step 2 - dissolve the yeast and activate it by proofing


This is a simple process that takes about 5 minutes. It’s possible to kill yeast if you use too hot of water, so aim for slightly warmer than luke-warm, or about 105°F. Combine warm water, yeast and 1 TBSP of the granulated sugar in your mixing bowl. Give it a quick stir and then let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll begin to see the yeast puff up until it covers the entire surface of the water.


Step 3 - add remaining ingredients and mix


Add the rest of the sugar, the oil, salt and flour (You can use all-purpose flour OR bread flour!), then mix using an electric mixer until it’s well combined, about 2 minutes. You can mix by hand but it will take longer.


Step 4 - knead the bread


You might be thinking, “Wait! It’s already mixed!” Ha! Not so fast! Going through the process of kneading bread dough is crucial for bread with great texture. Kneading dough allows gluten to form which enables dough to rise better, be lighter and fluffier. you can knead by hand or with a mixer. I use the dough hook on my mixer and knead for 7 minutes. If you knead by hand, you’ll want to knead for 10-11 minutes, depending on how consistent you are.


Step 5 - first rise


Place your lovely smooth, elastic bread dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel. I think plastic wrap works better because it traps hot air inside and thus, my dough requires a shorter first rise. Be sure to spray the side of the plastic wrap that will touch the dough with oil!

If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. In the wintertime when my house is cooler than normal, I like to turn the oven on for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and let the bowl of dough rise in there. The oven traps the heat for a longtime and it’s the perfect atmosphere for rising dough.


Step 6 - punch dough and shape it


Punching the dough down quickly releases any air pockets that have developed and helps your bread have a more consistent rise and texture. Shape your dough by rolling it gently into a ball and rolling it 2 or 3 times on the countertop so that the ball is more oblong. I usually punch down and shape the dough quickly, then place in a greased bread pan.


Step 7 - second rise


I like to do my second rise in a warm oven that’s not turned on. I turn the oven on just before I punch my dough down, then turn it off once I place the dough in the oven for the 2nd rise. It’s really only on for a minute or two, which is fine! The second rise will help shape your loaf of bread and takes about 30 minutes.


Step 8 - bake the bread


You’re nearly there! Bread bakes for about 30-40 minutes. You know what I do to make sure my bread is perfectly cooked? Use a thermometer. Fully cooked bread will be 190-200 degrees F. Bread recipes that include milk will need to cook until 200 degrees, but since this one doesn’t, I take it out once it reaches 190 degrees. The top will be golden brown.



Step 9 - cool the bread


Cool baked bread in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then overturn pan and turn loaf out onto a cooling rack or folded towel to finish cooling. If you leave the bread in the pan for much longer than that, you’ll steam it, which may cause some parts of your loaf to go soggy. No one likes soggy bread!

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