Previously published on this site, then mistakenly deleted, so here it is again.
When I was in high school, our chemistry teacher used to ask me and my best friend to demonstrate the experiments. He would say “If these two can do it, then anybody can do it.”
It was not very good for our ego. But true nonetheless.
The same goes for making bread – if I can do it, so can you. Yes, you.
I have modified a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking”. I make three loaves at once, instead of two, and I have increased the white to whole wheat flour ratio. (Go ahead, judge if you must.)
10 cups white and 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ package yeast
1/3 cup butter
2 ¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
Mix yeast with 1/3 cup warm water in small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes before mixing into dough. (I’ll tell you when.)
Measure out the flour into separate bowl. That way you don’t have to be counting cups as you’re mixing the dough.
Measure flour by spooning it into your measuring cup, then level with a knife.
In large bowl, mix together 1 beaten egg, melted butter, 3 ¾ cups warm water, salt and sugar.
Now add the yeast sludge.
Slowly add flour, mixing between each addition. Start mixing with your hands when it gets to be tough going with a spoon.
Spread more flour on your work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes.
Kneading is just pushing the dough with the palm of your hands and pulling it back with your fingers. Turn the wad around every few push/pulls.
Get some aggression out. It’ll be good for you.
You’re done when it feels like play dough and no longer sticks to your hands.
Grease a bowl, plop the dough in and cover with plastic wrap.
Put it in the oven to rise with the light on to make it a bit warmer.
Start watching at about 30 minutes to see if it’s doubled in size. It may take longer, depending on where you live (altitude and such).
How do you know when it’s doubled in size? The easiest way is to select a rising bowl that is about half full when you first put the dough in. Otherwise, mark the top level of the bowl on the outside with a bit of masking tape.
When it’s doubled in size, make a fist and punch it down all over (in the bowl).
Cut the flattened dough into three pieces. Re-distribute the dough into three mounds until it looks fairly even.
Shape by tucking under the sides and ends until top is smooth, in a rounded rectangle shape.
Grease the bread pans. I repeat, grease the bread pans.
Put the shaped dough in the pans, and back into the cold (with light on) oven to rise until doubled in size. I cover them with a tea towel. Start checking at about 40 minutes.
Take out and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake about 35 - 40 minutes (it’s 37 in my oven).
Remove from oven, and remove from pans unto cooling rack.
Let them cool, enjoy a slice, and grab your freezer bags.
I cut each loaf in two equal pieces, and freeze one half loaf in each bag. Larger families may wish to freeze whole loaves.
I swear to you, it takes less effort to do this (especially after the first learning curve time), than it does to type it all out.