How to Bake Bread

In this guide we’ll show you how to make bread. Homemade bread is simple to make and far better tasting than most store bought varieties. It can also  be a more economical approach. Additionally, when you read the labels of most major bread manufacturer’s loaves, it can be a little scary. It seems like the balance is slowly shifting towards a majority of ingredients that suggest heavy processing and preservation. Baking your own bread allows you to take control of exactly what goes into your food. For health conscious consumers, there are high fiber, whole wheat flours sold at health food stores that contain little or no extra additives. However, for those of you simply looking to make fresh loaves of bread, a trip to your local supermarket for prepared dough will be just fine.

How to Make Homemade Bread

Our first recipe will teach you how to make homemade bread.

Yields 1 loaf

For this recipe you will need:

Step 1

Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast in a mixing bowl. In a pan over medium heat, combine the buttermilk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir it frequently until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the butter is almost at the melting point.

Step 2

Add the liquid mixture to the bowl of flour and yeast, and combine them using a mixer set on medium speed for 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the ingredients are incorporated into the dough. Set the mixer on high for 3 minutes, once again making sure all of the flour and liquid mixture is worked into the dough.

Step 3

How to Bake Bread

How to Bake Bread

Move the dough ball to a clean, lightly floured surface such as a countertop and knead the dough, adding enough of the extra flour so that the dough becomes somewhat stiff. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in a greased baking dish making sure that the dough ball is coated evenly in the grease. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow the yeast to cause the dough to rise until it’s about twice as big as it was before. This should take about an hour.

Step 4

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your fist and then tear it into two equal sized chunks. Once again, cover it with a damp cloth letting it rest for about 15 minutes.

Step 5

Once the dough has rested a second time, grease two loaf pans and shape the dough so that it will fit into said pans by rolling it and compressing it until the desired shape is achieved. Once the two dough balls are loaf shaped, place them in the pans and cover them with damp cloths. Allow them to double in size once more for about 30 minutes. While the loaves are resting, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Once the dough has rested and the oven is ready, place the loaves in the oven and bake for roughly 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and solid. It should have a hollow thumping sound when you tap it with your finger. Once the bread is done, take it out of the loaf pans quickly to prevent it from over cooking due to the heat of the pan and let the bread cool until it can be handled without discomfort.

There are a number of things that can be done to change the flavor and or nutrient profile of the bread. Whole wheat flour can be used but it tends to have a bitter taste to it and it also requires a bit more liquid. Adding some honey to the flour would help to neutralize the bitter whole wheat flavor. Various nuts and seeds can also be added, which contribute a pleasing texture, as well as essential fatty acids, and protein. Dried fruits such as cherries or cranberries can be added.

Another popular technique is to sprinkle a little sea salt on top of the loaf. However, this should be done with caution as too much will ruin the taste. Some people have claimed to be able to use unflavored protein powders in their bread recipes with great success.

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