Watch out world, I’m using video.
Really, this whole idea came out of the fact that I don’t care to count how many times in recipes I’ve said, “until it looks like a certain way.” I’m a very visual person and frankly, that phrase has never done me a whole lot of good.
Plus, when I make break (and this is probably considered blasphemy) I don’t measure my flour. Unless you have weights, measurements when it comes to baking is kind of hokey. Instead I take my time and watch. So I figured instead of trying to tell you how I make perfect bread every I would show you. Yet, this is how I make bread- there are so many different ways but I found that this way works for me.
Now two words of caution: 1. this movie goes very fast and I left audio in for your enjoyment of chipmunk voices AND 2. This video is bias towards the stand mixer. I find that the mixer gets the dough to the perfect elastic consistency and frankly I hardly have the patience to stand and knead bread for that long.
What’s great is that once you have a basic bread recipe- you can go nuts. Make white bread, make seeded bread, or make cinnamon swirl bread. Toss in cheese or even nuts- the possibilities are endless.
I struggled with bread for what seems like years and even working at a bakery, bread always seemed to get the best of me and then one day, I stopped measuring and starting watching.
Basic Bread Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup sweetener (honey or sugar)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or butter, olive oil, or canola oil)
- 3-3 1/2 cups flour (unbleached all purpose, wheat, rye, etc.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, yeast, and sweetener- give a quick stir and let sit until yeast becomes active (5ish minutes.)
- Stir in oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Start bread with the dough hook.
- Add 1/4 cup of remaining flour and continue to slowly add flour (1-2 tablespoons at a time) until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Let run for 8-10 minutes. This will give you time to adjust flour and let the dough knead. Remember- you can always add flour but you can't always take it away. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.
- Once the first rise is over, knead a couple of times into the form of a log. Place in an oiled bread pan, cover again and set aside for about 1 hour. With 30 minutes left, pre-heat your oven to 425˚.
- Once the loaf has risen the second time, brush with oil and place in oven. (if you have a bottle of water, mist the bottom of your oven a couple of times to get some steam going.) Shut the oven door and let bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375˚ and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Bread should have a golden crust and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and let cool until you slice it.
by Erin Alderson