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I have originally posted this information almost a year ago – and realizing that lot of you are looking for instruction how to make your own bread and for a good and tested bread recipe – I have updated it.
For a great Old Fashioned White Bread Recipe, go to:
Step-by-Step to Making Your Homemade Bread:
Follow the recipe to mix ingredients together
Making homemade bread is surprisingly easy and simple! And really – no other type of baking can give you such a wonderful sense of personal satisfaction. You can feel the real thrill of creative cooking when that rich aroma of homemade bread fills your house.
Steps for making Homemade Bread:
- Process: Straight Dough method is the most familiar method of making bread. The mixing is done in a continuous operation. After the yeast has been softened in lukewarm water and sugar, it is added to the liquid, sugar, salt and shortening. The flour is then added to make a soft dough that can be kneaded. The rising time will depend on the amount of yeast. Different recipes vary in the amount of yeast and therefore will vary in rising time.
- Temperature: temperature plays an important part in bread baking. Too much heat can kill the yeast. Too little will slow it down. For best results, dissolve active yeast in lukewarm water (95F). To test, drop a little on your wrist. It should feel netiher warm or cold. Before combining hot ingredients to softened yeast, they need to be cooled to lukewarm.
- Mixing: Measure flour accurately by spooning it into measuring cup. Level off with small spatula of flat knife. Many recipes state to stir half the flour into the yeast mixture first, beating with a spoon until almost smooth. The remaining flour is then added gradually, using only enough to prevent dough from sticking to bowl or hands. At this point, the dough is often too heavy to be mixed with a spoon and it is easier to use your hands. An approximate amount of flour is given in the recipe, because the flour’s absorptive properties vary with temperature and humidity.
- Kneading: This process develops the gluten, which in turn develops good grain and texture. As you knead, you can feel the dough changing from rough, uneven texture to smooth, elastic ball. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board, canvas, tabletop or counter top. Keep supply of flour handy as you may require extra as you knead. The amount needed is determined by the amount the dough will absorb. Flour hands lightly and press dough into a slightly flat ball. Fold dough over on itself toward you, then push it lightly with a sort of rocking motion,with the heel of the hand, away from you. Make a quarter turn and repeat the process rhythmically until the surface of the dough feels satiny and smooth. This usually required form 8 to 10 minutes of kneading.
- Rising : Round dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly greased bowl that is large enough to let it double in bulk without overflowing. Turn dough over to grease top. Cover with a clean linen towel to prevent crust from forming. Let rise in a warm place (80 – 85F) free from draft until double in bulk. Temperature is important as the yeast works best at these temperatures. The rising time can vary depending on temperature, amount of yeast, type of flour used and the recipe itself. The times given in the recipes are approximate, and are useful guide to tell you when to test the dough. To test whether dough has doubled in bilk – press two fingers into it. If dents remain, then the dough is ready.
- Punching down: when dough is ready, punch down by plunging fist into dough, then fold edges toward the centre, until dough is original size.If second rising is indicated int he recipe. place folded edges down in bowl, cover and let rise again. second rising is usually shorter in time.
- Shaping the loaves: Divide dough into as many portions as there are to be loaves. Knead each part lightly to make a smooth ball. A resting period at this time makes the dough easier to handle. over with a towel and let rest for about 10 minutes. Flatten each ball and roll to a rectangle of uniform thickness. Shape with hands if necessary. Roll dough towards you as for jelly roll. Press gently with heel of hand to seal each roll. Seal final seam. Seal ends of loaf by pressing side of hand on ends. Gently fold sealed ends of loaf under.
- Letting loaves rise: Place each loaf seam down in a greased loaf pan.Size of pan will vary with recipe. Do not work corners of the roll into corners of pan. Cover loaves with a clean towel and set in warm place until double in bulk.
- Baking: When loaves are double in bulk, the surface should be smooth and moist in appearance with no dry areas or cracks. Place loaves evenly spaced in a preheated oven. Temperature of oven and baking time will vary with individual recipe.
- To test if bread is done : When it is done, bread will shrink slightly from the sides of the pan and has a golden brown crust. The loaf should sound hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom.
- Cooling the loaves: Remove break from pans as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool on cooling rack, uncovered and away from drafts. If a soft crust is preferred, brush tops of hot baked bread with melted butter.
- Storing: When completely baked, wrap in waxed paper and store in well ventilated bread box or in refrigerator.
- Freezing: Wrap completely cooled bread in moisture-vapor-proof freezer wrapper. Make sure wrapping is airtight. Bread will hold its freshness for several weeks in the freezer.
Enjoy one the best aromas that will ever fill your kitchen!