Are you new to bread making? If so, you might feel overwhelmed and think that making bread is too hard to do. Would you believe me if I told you making bread can be easy?
Yes it is true, there are different kinds of bread, and different methods, and some are more complicated than others. You can get more advanced and complicated with fancy breads, braided breads, special shapes and free hand, or even by growing your own wheat or other grains, sprouting your own grains, grinding your own grains into flour, etc. You can also go with grain free breads, and gluten free breads. Whatever your preference may be, I would encourage you to try making this simple easy bread that requires little fuss on your part.
But for the sake of making this process EASY, let us set all those various bread methods aside and just focus on combining a few ingredients and using a few steps in the baking process for A SIMPLE LOAF OF EASY BREAD (or bread sticks, rolls, etc) YOU CAN HAVE ON THE TABLE for supper tonight.
We will mix two bowls of ingredients (one wet, and one dry), and then combine those two bowls into one to make our bread dough.
I am using a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix and need the dough to make this very easy. You can also combine it by hand and need the dough by hand. If making this by hand, I usually start with a large fork and then eventually use only my hand. I have done both and prefer the stand mixer method, but I have many dear friends who get into the bread with all their strength to need the dough and find it very theraputic. How you mix the dough is up to you.
Choose your flour:
If you can make this recipe with sprouted flour, that would be the best option. Otherwise don’t worry about it and use whatever flour you want or make combinations of blended flours: half unbleached all purpose flour and half of another flour like whole wheat or spelt) or use an all purpose gluten free flour blend to eliminate gluten if desired. If I don’t have a sprouted flour on hand, then I like using an all purpose unbleached flour to make a deliciously light dough that goes well with everything (bread, bread sticks, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, buns, rolls, etc) and even the kids love it.
Pick Your Yeast:
I like to use two kinds of yeast, both active dry and quick rise. But you can simplify and use only quick rise yeast if you don’t have the active dry yeast, or active dry if you don’t have quick rise. I think you get the best texture, in the short amount of time allowed to rise for this bread if you use both varieties. A dear Amish friend taught me to use both yeasts and it is a practice I have continued in my own home for at least the past 15 years with great success.
Heat Is Up and Down:
Another trick to get an awesome loaf of bread in your home oven without special equipment is to play with the heat. My Amish friends bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. But I find I can make a much better loaf of bread by altering the heat while baking. This recipe today bakes at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, and then the heat is lowered to 375 degrees for the rest of the baking. The small loaves and rolls take a combined total of 20 minutes, and the large loaf takes a combined total of 25 minutes. So if you add up the time it takes to mix the dough, let it rise, and bake it, altogether should be real close to 1 1/2 hours.
Soft or Crunchy?:
Also, you can get different kinds of crust from this same loaf of bread. If you want a crunchy crust, do nothing additional. If you want a crunchy and glossy crust, brush the loaf with an egg wash (egg yolk and water) at the last five minutes of baking. If you want a loaf topped with herbs, brush with an egg wash and add herbs or garlic at the last five minutes of baking. If you want a soft crust, skip the egg wash, wait until after baking is finished and simply rub a stick of butter gently across the warm crust after you have removed the finished loaf from the oven. The crust absorbs the butter quickly and seals in the steam, and it creates a soft tender crust that is absolutely delicious!
It can’t be more simple!
Bowl 1 (wet ingredients):
1 packet of active dry yeast
1 packet of quick rise dry yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water between 95 and 101 degrees
4 Tbsp. of sugar (any sugar will do, but I like to use sucanant, or 2 Tbsp. honey)
4 Tbsp. of melted butter (warm, but not hot)
Bowl 2 (dry ingredients):
5 cups (may have to use an additional 1/2 cups) all purpose flour (or a combination of flours mentioned above).
2 tsp. of Himalayan sea salt
In the mixing bowl, place water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
If it bubbles and gets foamy, then the yeast is working and you can proceed. If it does not bubble, you should dump it out, and start over. If you have a bubbly yeast culture, place mixing bowl on mixing stand with dough hook.
Add warm melted butter and mix in.
In a separate bowl, mix flour and sea salt. Then add the flour blend into the mixing bowl of wet ingredients adding in one cup at a time. Go slow and let the dough hook work the flour in. Once you have all five cups added, the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, if not, slowly add upto an additional 1/2 cup of flour, but only add about 1 Tbsp at a time as you mix the dough.
Once the dough ball has absorbed all the flour and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, don’t ad anymore flour as it now has just enough. That is the trick with bread, you want just enough flour, but not too much. Too much flour will make your bread dry and crumbly.
Allow the dough hook to need the bread for about 5 minutes. You can also do this by hand if you wish, and if doing so by hand, add another 5 minutes to your needing time.
Then cover the dough in the bowl with a clean cloth and allow it to rest, and it will begin to rise. Allow it to rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
Now need the dough again with the dough hook for about 3 minutes or so. This next step is optional, but you can repeat the rest and need cycle one more time if you wish. But it is not necessary.
Now you can proceed onto making your loaf. Remove the dough from the bowl. Fold it over on itself a few times, and shape into a log or loaf shape. You can cut the dough in half and make two loaves, or make one large loaf.
Place the loaf on parchment paper on a baking sheet, or put smaller loaves into bread pans if you wish. Cut a few slits into the top of the dough with a sharp knife. This allows steam to escape evenly and makes the loaf look very pretty. Many of my Amish friends use a fork to poke lots of holes all over the top of the loaf for this same purpose. But I like the look of the knife slits, as I think it is much prettier, but either method will work fine.
Cover the loaf and edges of pan with saran wrap or a clean dish towel and allow the dough to rest and rise again for 30 more minutes or until it has at least doubled in size.
While the loaf of dough is resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
After the loaf has risen for 30+ minutes, place the baking sheet and loaf into the 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees for another 10 minutes if you made two small loaves, or for 15 minutes for the large loaf.
Give This EASY BREAD A Try!
Here are two free hand shaped loaves baking on cookie sheets and parchment paper at the same time:
Here is a picture of a loaf baking in a loaf pan and it had been poked with a fork:
Here are some dinner rolls:
Here are two different batches of cinnamon rolls made with this same dough recipe and baked for 10 minutes at 425 then 10 minutes at 375 degrees for the round pan:
And these cinnamon rolls bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes then 375 degrees for 15 minutes for the 9 x 13 cake pan. Next rub butter gently onto the crust after removing from the oven. Finally frost or drizzle icing when cool:
Be sure to read about making sourdough bread and sourdough cinnamon rolls with a wonderful probiotic kefir frosting. This frosting is a great way to add / sneak probiotics into your family’s diet.
And don’t forget, you can experiment with different grains, and some gluten free, or grain free flour blends too and get the flour combo that meets your needs. This recipe is simple and easy and you will enjoy making it. Plus, your family and guests will love these bread dishes! I promise!
If you give this recipe a try, come back and let me know how it works out for you. Thanks.
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