MAKING MY HOME A COZY PLACE TO LAND, ONE IDEA AT A TIME.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Best Homemade Bread EVER!!!

Ok, so as promised... Here is the bestest homemade bread ever.
REALLY!
It's better than store-bought.
I promise!

Here's an up-front disclaimer...
You cannot make this bread when you don't have time to commit to it....
It takes at least 2 1/2 hours.
Now, don't go all, "What! I don't have time for that! I'm not even gonna try it!" on me. 2 of those hours are spent letting the bread rise. So, go do the laundry, the dishes, play with the kids, what ever while you wait! To make the time seam like a better use, I make 2 loaves at once. If you do decide to make more than one loaf at a time, just remember to keep the doughs separate.

Now, on to the recipe!

You will need a large bowl, a regular spoon, a loaf pan, a hand towel and some non-stick cooking spray.

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (hot from the tap is fine)

1/4 cup milk

5 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons butter (melted in the microwave)

2 1/2 cups bread flour plus about 3/4 cup more for kneading into dough (if you don't have bread flour, all-purpose flour works fine...it's just slightly different)

Directions:

Dissolve the active dry yeast in the warm water, and stir with a spoon. It's best to use a warm bowl. Do this by running the bowl under hot water (as you're measuring the cup out for dissolving the dry yeast) and simply dry the outside of the bowl. If the inside isn't dry, that's ok.

Stir in the milk, sugar, salt and butter until all mixed together.

Stir in 2 cups of flour and then add the last 1/2 cup flour. Now is a good time to take any rings or watches or bracelets off. You'll have to use your hands to mix the rest of the flour into the dough.

Lightly flour your clean surface. Place the dough on here and lightly flour the top. Now, start kneading the dough. Don't forget to twist the dough and work in all the flour of the 3/4 cup over a 10 minute time period. That's right! 10 minutes...you'll get a nice upper arm workout, that's for sure!

Clean out the bowl (you don't have to wash it, just make sure it's cleaned out) and spray it with the non-stick spray. For your dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover it with the hand towel and set it in a warm place. Let it rise for an hour.

After the dough has risen, turn the bowl over onto your clean surface and punch the dough down. Have fun with this! It's easiest to punch it into a rectangle that is as long as about 1 1/2 lengths of your loaf pan and about 3/4 width as the length of your bread pan.

Now, roll the dough up, length-wise. Keep the roll tight or you will end up with holes in the finished bread.

Spray your loaf pan with the non-stick spray and place the bread roll in the loaf pan, seam-side down. Cover with the hand towel and set in a warm place for 1 hour to rise. Now, if the bread rises above the loaf pan, don't worry about it. It won't go anywhere during the baking process.

During this hour, remember to turn your oven to 400 degrees F. After the hour is up, bake the loaf on the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes.

When the loaf is done, cover it with a hand towel and remove from the loaf pan right away. I usually wait about 2 minutes before wrapping the bread in Saran Wrap. By doing this right away, you will seal in the moisture.

Now, go enjoy the bread! It AMAZING!!!

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