Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Easy Peasy Bread!

If you are like me, then you have noticed that bread is getting ridiculously expensive these days!  So, I have decided to bake my own for awhile, and I am such a cool guy that I am going to share my recipe with you. 

Believe it or not it is really easy to do it yourself, and I have even figured out that is cheaper than buying it at a store usually.

Here we go.

Easy Bread:

for this you'll need:

non-stick cooking spray
some plastic wrap
1 large mixing bowl
1 loaf pan or baking sheet
1 brush
1 sharp knife
1 towel
1 1/4 cups of warm water
1/4 cup of margarine or butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
3 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of yeast (active dry) (you can either get it in ready to use packets or in bulk packages. I prefer bulk just make sure to refigerate it regardless)

In a mixing bowl put in the warm water and margarine stir briefly. Then add the sugar and salt stir again briefly.

Next throw in the flour and make a small indent on top of the flour mountain and put the yeast there. Stir vigorously and then pull the mixture out of the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Now fold and knead the dough repeatedly. After about 5-10 minutes the dough should be uniform in texture and color.

Now roll the dough into a ball and place it in the mixing bowl.

Once the dough is in the bowl thoroughly soak the towel and then wring it out well. Put it on top of the bowl so as to not touch the dough. let that sit for an hour or two or until it doubles in size.

Then take the doughball out punch it down. It should still be larger than the original ball, but if it isn't don't worry.  You are going to let it rise again in a little bit.
Now is the fun part. Fold and Knead the dough briefly again.

Then shape it how you want. I.e. if it is going into a loaf pan form the dough into a brick shape ( all sides should look fairly smooth.)

Now, spray the inside of the loaf pan if you are using one with the non-stick spray and then place the brick shaped dough into the pan.

If you are going to roll the dough out to make a long loaf good luck. I have a hell of a time doing that.  90% of the time it ends up flat. 

Anyway, once the dough is in the loaf pan or rolled out how you want it grab your knife and make 1/2 inch cuts in it to allow air bubbles to escape as it rises. Don't go deeper if you can help it because the bread will split when it rises if you cut too deep into it. I have only had this happen once, but that was enough. It sucked.

Now, cover the dough with either the moist cloth you used earlier or spray some non-stick coating on some plastic wrap and cover the dough and let sit/rise for about 45 minutes or however long it takes it for the dough to double in size.

While waiting for the dough to rise Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
When the dough has risen uncover it and it put it in the oven to bake for around half an hour. When it is done you'll know because you should be able to tap on it and the loaf will sound hollow. Or, when you stick a knife in it the knife will come out clean.

Now, Plop the bread out of the pan and place it on a rack to cool. If no rack put it on a towel.

This part is optional: The bread is going to come out of the oven with a hard crust. If you want it to soften up nicely paint it with butter before it cools down to room temp. Don't worry it won't cool all the way really for at least an hour. There is plenty of time.

Also if you want to add flavor to the bread you can do so after the first rise. I like to add garlic powder every once in awhile or cinnamon.  There is a ton of stuff you could do!

Once the breaed has cooled for at least an hour you can cut it easily. 

Well, that's how I make my easy peasy bread.  Hope you try it out, and if you do.  Tell me how you liked it.

P.s. I am probably going to throw a few more recipes on here since I am writing a few of them down for my brother anyway.  Feel free to e-mail some of your recipes and I will add them.  We are going for easy cost effective recipes.  Quick too I guess although I don't really think that making your own bread is quick, but there is a lot of down time while you're waiting for it to rise.  

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