Delicious Homemade Breads

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As the holiday season nears, you can begin to smell the wonderful aroma of baked goods; cakes, pies and breads just to name a few. The smell of freshly baked bread is an aroma like no other and the taste of a warm, freshly baked loaf of bread is oh so wonderful. Making a loaf of bread in the comfort of your own kitchen is more common than most people think and it’s not as complicated as you may be thinking it is. The ingredients needed to make bread are simple ingredients such as water, sugar, salt, oil, flour and yeast, plus you can spice up your breads by adding cinnamon, raisins, nuts the possibilities are endless.

Making homemade breads can be a family activity, the kids can help knead the dough while learning about the process of what it takes to make the dough rise. With your homemade breads, you can also enjoy homemade jams and jellies in whatever flavor you prefer. Remember when making homemade jams and jellies always use a tested recipe which can be found in a Ball Blue Book, or the So Easy to Preserve Book. Always follow instructions exactly as they are written, and always use quality ingredients.

Below are tips and recipes for making homemade bread, give it a try, you will be glad that you did.

Tip #1: Start with good yeast. If your yeast is old it will affect the quality of your bread. Keep leftover yeast in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. To test your yeast, dissolve it in warm water with a pinch of sugar. If it isn’t bubbly and foamy within 10 minutes, then it’s not any good and you should use a new bottle or package of yeast.

Tip #2: When making the dough mixture add flour a little at a time. It’s easy to add more flour if needed, but impossible to take away flour if too much is added.

Tip #3: You want your dough to be smooth and slightly tacky to touch but not overly sticky, that makes it easier to roll into a ball.

Tip #4: The temperature can affect the amount of time it takes for the dough to rise. Once you have your dough in the bread pan you can cover the pan with a towel and place it in the oven with just the oven light on to help the dough rise.

Tip #5: Once bread has baked let the loaves cool before slicing to get smooth uniform slices.

Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 2 ¼ cups warm water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 ½ -6 ½ cups flour
  • Butter for topping

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar. When the yeast is bubbly and foamy, add the sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups flour, and mix until smooth.
  2. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft, smooth dough. The dough should stick just slightly to your finger when touched, but not be overly sticky. Knead 5-7 minutes, until smooth, then roll into a ball.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn over once to coat the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour, or until doubled.
  4. When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and divide in half. Roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle about 8 inches wide. Roll the dough up, starting at the short edge, to form a cylinder that is approximately 8 inches wide. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Place the dough, seam side down, into lightly greased bread pans, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour, or until the dough is ½ – 1 inch higher than the top of the pan.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375. Bake 30-35 minutes, or the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Remove to a cooling rack and cool before slicing.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home