I have been using this basic bread recipe for about 20 years and continue to experiment with different ingredients and techniques. My favorite is still using the basic ingredients, letting it cool overnight, and slicing it for toast the next morning. My neighbor’s like it also.
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour *
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of granular yeast
- about 1 3/4 to 2 cups of warm water **
May also use the following items (examples):
1/4 cup of wheat germ, oatmeal, rye flour, or cornmeal; crushed caraway seeds; Italian seasoning; rosemary; basil; hot peppers; grated cheese; black or green olives; raisins.
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water (about 95 degrees F.) **
- While yeast is prepping then mix dry ingredients with a whisk.
- Add yeast/water to the dry ingredients. Use a dough hook (or large spoon) to mix the dough. Add extra warm water as needed to achieve a “sticky” consistency. The dough needs the moisture to rise.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size. ***
- Punch down. Place dough into two bread loaf pans that are greased and sprinkled with corn meal or flour.
- Cover the bread and let it rise a second time in a warm place until it doubles in size. ***
- Score the top off the loaf with a sharp knife.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until light brown on top. **** Use a toothpick to check if it is done. If it comes out clean is it ready.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing or storing.
* The ratio of flour to water changes with the weather as well as the types of flour used. If you miss the consistency required to make the dough just add a little extra water or flour as needed to the mix.
** Tap water may have too much chlorine in it, so you might use distilled water to avoid killing the yeast.
*** It helps to cover and put in an enclosed space with a bowl of hot water to help with the rising. I use the stove before heating.
**** If using glass baking pans, lower the oven temperature 25 degrees.
Cinnamon rolls/bread – After first rising , flatten the mix into a rectangle on a floured counter – dust with cinnamon and sugar – roll up and cut in half for the bread pans and the second rising.
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Could you substitute milk for part/all of the water?
Could you add more additions (oatmeal, et al) per dough batch then 1/4 c?
I keep promising myself to get into bread making, but am constantly frustrated with too much to do and never enough time to do it.
Response to questions:
Substituting milk – Yes, regular or canned. Just maintain the “sticky” consistency.
More additions – Yes, just give the mix enough moisture for the yeast to work.
I failed to mention that bread flour works well. I got into using all purpose as I could use it for other baking.