Delicious and warm homemade bread may seem like a challenge, but actually it's not very hard to make. Homemade bread can be made in nearly any type or flavor you can imagine. Though of course you can use a bread maker, it is not absolutely necessary. Here's one way to make homemade bread:
Ingredients and supplies:
- 5 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 2 cups warm (not hot) water
- 4 tablespoons oil
- Large bowl
- Bread pan or pans, depending on desired loaf size
- Preheat the oven. When baking, this step is very important. Before turning the oven on, make sure that the oven rack is in the center of the oven, not too high or too low. Otherwise, your bread may not bake evenly or correctly. Most homemade bread recipes bake at about 400 degrees. Wait until the oven is fully heated before placing the loaves in the oven.
- Make sure the yeast is good. The number one error when making homemade bread is failing to make sure that the yeast is still good. If the yeast is old, the bread will not rise. To check the yeast, add the yeast to the warm water and sugar. It should start to foam up. If it does not, discard the mixture and start over with new yeast.
- Mix the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix everything but the flour, including your yeast mixture. Stir thoroughly. Then add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough becomes stiff.
- Knead the dough. First, lightly flour a surface, such as your countertop or a large cutting board. Then knead the dough using the heels of your hands. Fold the dough onto itself and turn it a quarter turn after every knead. The dough should become smooth and elastic.
- Let the dough rise. When you're done kneading, leave the dough alone. Cover it with a towel and set it in a warm (but not hot) place. It should rise until it is twice the size of the dough you started out with.
- Form into pans. First, punch down the dough using your first to push the air out. Then form the dough into loaves, and place into greased loaf pans. Let the dough rise again, and it should double in size.
- Bake the bread. Bake until the tops of the loaves are golden brown; when you tap on the top with your knuckles, the loaves should sound hollow. Serve warm, or allow to cool before slicing.
Freshly baked homemade bread just can't be beat. It is very healthy, and does not contain the additives found in most store-bought loaves of bread. There are, of course, many variation of homemade bread. Although the ingredients may change between recipes, the general method for making homemade bread remains the same. You can also form the bread into dinner rolls, pizza crusts, cinnamon rolls, or other shapes with just a few slight changes.