Bread is so easy to make that when I learned how to make it I wondered why I ever bought it! I experimented for a long time with lots of different recipes and realized that bread is one of those things that you have to feel with your own hands and make it your own way, so many different things affect the final product, the humidity in your kitchen, how hot your oven really is, etc... so just use this as a guide and find out the perfect recipe for you.
Here's what I do:
What you'll need:
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 cups of all purpose flour (approximately)
Here's what to do:
Add water to a large bowl, stir in yeast until it's dissolved.
Add salt, sugar, shortening and milk to bowl and stir. Mix in the first two cups of flour and lightly stir with a spoon.
You will get a very, very sticky and lumpy dough.
Flour your working surface and drop your dough on it to knead.
Knead for about 10 minutes adding more flour as you knead it to get an elastic, smooth, non-sticky dough. Roll into a ball.
Grease an oven proof bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Turn on oven to the lowest temperature and let it rise for one hour.
Punch hole to take all the air out of it, knead for a few more minutes.
Roll it into a cylinder and place it inside the loaf pan, punch down so that it covers all sides, then cover it and let it sit by a warm oven for about 45 minutes, it will rise a second time.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 35 minutes ( you might need to bake it for a little bit longer depending on your oven temperature). Immediately after baking take it out of the dish and let it cool on a wire rack or clean towel. You should end up with a beautiful golden color.
Use a long serrated knife to cut into slices.
Once you have mastered this recipe you can have fun creating different flavors in your bread and mixing all kinds of stuff in it!