Saturday, March 8, 2014

Basic Bread

This is the basic bread recipe that I use 90% of the time. It is very simple and fun to make. In fact I often have my kids make it along with me. I just divide the recipe by 4 to get the correct amounts for an individual loaf. The kids are always so proud that they made their own loaf of bread! I've included the portions for an individual loaf if you would like to have your kids make their own bread along with you.

Basic Wheat Bread

8 cups all purpose flour

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 1/2 cups very warm water
3 Tablespoons active dry yeast
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

Start by putting the water in a large measuring cup or bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water. Give it a stir. Next, add the yeast and stir again. Set the mixture aside. Now in a large bowl, add flours and remaining sugar. Stir it a few times to blend the ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the oil and vinegar into the well you made. Now if your yeast mixture has a thick layer of foam on top it is ready to add. Add the yeast mixture to the well. Now stir everything together starting with the liquid and gradually incorporate the dry ingredients. Sprinkle a light coating of flour onto the counter and dump the dough mixture onto it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Now it will need to rise. You can leave it on the counter and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. You could also return it to the bowl to rise. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. It should be about double in size. Grease 4 9"x5" bread (loaf) pans. With the dough on a lightly floured counter, flatten the dough with your hands. Now divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf and place one into each pan. Cover your loaves and let rise for about 40 minutes (they should double in size). Preheat oven to 425° and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans immediately after you take them out of the oven. Allow the loaves to cool on a cooling rack.

My Tips
-You can use any variation and varieties of flours. The higher the fiber content of the flour used the more higher the ratio of liquids to flour will need to be, so you will need to experiment with this when you use different flour combinations.
-If you use all "white" flour, you can eliminate the vinegar. The vinegar is used to help soften the wheat flour.
-I like to slice all of the loaves and once using my electric knife. I keep two loaves out, and I store two of them in the freezer. I like to have the bread sliced before freezing.

1 Loaf of Bread

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/8 cup of  very warm water
2 1/4 Teaspoons of active dry yeast
4 1/2 Teaspoons of granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Follow the same directions as above.

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