Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homemade White Bread

After realizing how many ingredients store-bought bread has (usually upwards of twenty), and knowing that bread really only needs four ingredients (I actually use five in this recipe), I decided to make my own. This has opened doors to so much more bread-making in my future. This adventure was spear-headed by my partner (see his blog here), and he is the one featured in the photos.


Ingredients


Four (4) cups of bread flour
Two (2) packets of Fleishmann's RapidRise active yeast -- You don't have to use the RapidRise, but it dramatically decreases the time needed for the bread to rise
One & a half (1 1/2) cups of water
Two (2) teaspoons of salt
1/8 cup of olive oil

Directions
Mix yeast, salt and two (2) cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Heat water and olive oil in a saucepan until warm (specifically 120F - 130F degrees). -- I would make sure to actually test the temperature of the water; we used a food thermometer for it.
While stirring, add water to dry ingredients. -- For the mixing portion, you can use an electric mixer, but we did it all by hand.
It works best to knead the dough
flat, fold in half & repeat.
Slowly introduce the other two cups of flour to the mixture, while still stirring. It should create a doughy mixture (and start smelling delicious).
Start kneading the warm dough. You can do this in the bowl or on a flour-covered flat surface. (For kneading tips, go here.)
Let sit for ten minutes to rise initially. After ten minutes, knead again for a couple minutes. Some of the air will release and it will look flat again.

Place in greased loaf pan. Cover and keep in a warm area (such as a warm kitchen). Let sit until it doubles in size (this took 40 minutes for us).
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through.
Let cool and eat to your heart's desire!




Tips
Your kitchen should be warm while you're prepping the bread; this helps with the kneading and the rising of the bread.
Determine when your bread is done rising by it doubling in size, rather than a specific passing of time.
Also, a special shout-out to the Reluctant Gourmet blog, who gave us great bread-making tips. Check it out here.