A Quick, Easy and Tasty Plain Bread Recipe

Description

Making bread is addictive. You will disappear down a rabbit hole of recipes, exotic equipment, tips, tricks, secrets and gossip.

Yield
2 Loaves
Preparation time
1 hour
Cooking time
20 minutes
Total time
1 hour, 20 minutes
Instructions
Bosch Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl
Bosch Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl
  1. Add the dry ingredients to your bowl mixer. I use a Bosch mixer, but it can be any brand.
  2. On my Bosch, I run the mixer for a few seconds to really mix up the dry ingredients.

  3. Heat 3 cups of water to 100° F or 37.7° C. You should use a thermometer, but I never do. I stick my finger in the water, and if it burns too much, I turn down the heat.

  4. Mix 4 ounces of sugar into the hot water, along with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix the sugar in thoroughly.

  5. Pour the hot water / sugar mix into the Bosch blender, I run it on the #1 or first position speed for about a minute. (Assuming you're paying attention, I'll reveal a secret here: make sure the dough mixture is pretty wet. ESPECIALLY if you are doing whole wheat. Wet, wet, wet. That's what you want.)

  6. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be exactly 10 minutes, but if you let it go too long, you're going to have a big mess to clean up.

  7. After the 10 or so minutes of waiting, run the Bosch for 3.5 minutes (that's 3 minutes 30 seconds) on setting #2. Pay attention: you might have to add flour to get the mixture up to a consistency that will make it stick together, and not to the sides of the mixer. I can't tell you how much, it depends on atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity. This is where practice makes perfect.

  8. After you have the dough fairly sticky, yank it out of the mixer into a Teflon pan, or better yet stainless steel. It should be a pretty good sized pan because the bread will rise a lot. This stage is called the proofing stage. I stick my proofing pan into the oven with no heat, or low heat in the winter.

    1. If the weather is cold, you can go watch "Gone with the Wind" and it should be ready when the movie is over.

    2. If the weather is hot, you only have time for two episodes of "The Three Stooges" before it has risen enough.

  9. While you are waiting for the dough to rise, get out two bread pans and coat them with a thin layer of grease. I prefer lard, but butter is fine too.

  10. After the dough has risen, take it out the pan and run a knife through the middle, splitting the mixture in two. Mush it up in your hands, knead it and talk to it. Stretch out the half piece of dough and throw it in one of the bread pans. Repeat for the other one.

  11. Now, this is the second rise. Don't fall asleep at this stage, because if you let things go too long, you will have a malformed loaf of bread. The dough should rise just about a half inch above the edge of the bread pan. Do not be tempted to let it rise very high, because it will collapse in the oven if you do.

  12. We're going to time travel now. Back when the dough had halfway up the bread pan, you should have turned up the oven to 450° F.

  13. Back to the present:

    1. gently put the bread pans into the oven.

    2. Don't knock the pans because you can collapse the dough and that's the end of the bake.

    3. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

    4. Get lost but don't go too far.

  14. When you start to smell baked bread, you are close to the finish line. Open the oven and thrust an ice pick into a loaf. If it comes out clean, you're done.

  15. If you followed the instructions with the lard / butter, the loaf will easily come out of the bread pan. If not, what you have left will go into my famous bread pudding recipe.

  16. Let the two hot loaves "relax" on a metal grate so there is airflow beneath them. Don't put them right into the fridge or they'll turn into soggy messes. There's a lot of moisture in the bread that needs to escape over time.

  17. Now you're done!

Source

My niece Linda via my sister Carol got the basic recipe to me.

My first attempts were such failures, not even the birds would eat the bricks I baked.

Some of my mistakes:

  • "There are too many steps in this recipe. I bet I can skip a few."
  • "I only need to do one rise. I can skip the proofing stage."
  • "I'll put a ton extra yeast in to make it rise faster."
  • "I'll put a ton extra sugar in to make it rise faster."

Tags