I know that not everyone enjoys baking, but when I bake I am in my element. I may have missed my calling as a baker but it is most definitely one of my passions. I love baking, not cooking, but baking. Breads, pies, muffins, cakes, cookies, English muffins, lasagna, casseroles, really if I can put it in a Pyrex dish or on a sheet and put it in my oven I will do it!!
I love making homemade bread, it helps me break out some stress relieving exercises and I get to make my house smell extra homey, AND a great treat to eat for the next couple of weeks. Who wouldn't want their home to smell like home made bread? Who wouldn't want to eat homemade bread for a week, at least you can pronounce all the ingredients in this bread unlike some of the store bough breads with all their preservatives.
I make my homemade bread sans breadmaker. I HATE, no I LOA(th)Ve the breadmaker. I had a breadmaker but it always made such a mess that I only used it a few times then I sold it in a yard sale. Besides when I do it without the breadmaker I get 4 loaves of bread and a dozen to two dozen buns or cinnamon buns.
So I do everything just like my mom, grandma and great grandma did when they made bread at home. I use a recipe my grandma got from her mom so the recipe is old and it always delivers AWESOME bread, just ask my neighbour Al. I honestly think making my bread by hand is what makes the difference. I always found I loved the bread I made without my breadmaker much more than the breadmaker bread.
My recipe is simplicity it's self. There are a few ingredients to measure out but lots of it is by feel from years of making bread. I have been making or assisting in making bread since I was in grade 6. My mom used to make bread and pizza dough and pizzas that she sold out of her house to bring in a little extra income for us. I loved when I would come home and my house smelt like a bakery.
When I am making bread this is the recipe I use and the steps I go through.
We start with 1/2 cup luke warm water. Add 1 tbsp of yeast (quick rise or traditional) and 1 tbsp sugar to the water, let stand for 10 minutes for the yeast to begin working.
In a large bowl add 2 cups of hot water. Then add 1/4 cup of sugar and a heaping tbsp of lard to the warm water. Stir to let the lard dissolve in the water.
Now add 2 1/2 cups of cold water to the hot water. Add in 1 beaten egg, mix all these together. Add your yeast and stir again.
Finally, we begin adding water, you are going to need at least 10 cups of flour, but don't add it all at once, and it's likely you will need more than that. I start off by adding 5 cups of 12 grain flour mix from Nutters. But you can do it with whole wheat, or just white flour. That's what makes this recipe so great, you can pretty much make any type of bread. The rest of the flour I add is white. It may be in my head, but when I use straight whole wheat flour it makes it hard to work with same with the 12 grain mix. So I add the white flour into the mix and add as much as I need until the dough forms a ball and is no longer sticky.
I let the dough rise until it's twice the size it originally was when I stuck it in the oven. I do use my oven to let my dough rise, the trick is to turn on your oven light and let your oven warm up for 10 minutes to no higher than 100 F. I do this while I mix my dough then I turn the oven off. It helps to speed up the rising processes. You could if you want turn on the hot water in your shower and let the steam in the bathroom rise the bread, but that's going to have you using a lot of water. If I use quick rise yeast I will only do this once, but if I use traditional yeast I let the ball of dough rise twice before I make my bread loaves.
When the dough is finished rising, I shape the loaves, I make them so they fit the pans and are at least an inch below the top. Usually you would use 450 g of dough to make a regular loaf, so if you have a scale and want to measure that's what you are aiming for. I then let the loaves rise until they are double their size then I bake them for ~45 minutes at 350 F. I say approximately because I often bake by smell, when I smell the bread and the top of the loaf is golden I know the bread is done.
The bread is then done and I get to enjoy and nice warm loaf of bread!! So if you are looking for an easy how to bake bread, this is it.