How To Make Bread From Scratch
In the beginning step is where you would make sure that the yeast is good and ready to use for your baking desires. In this step you will combine one tablespoon of dry yeast, one tablespoon of sugar and a half of cup of the Luke warm water. Stirring this together for a minute or so and then letting it sit for fifteen minutes is normally called proofing the yeast. You will notice it will start to bubble and expand letting you know that the yeast is ready for the rest of the mixing process.
After the proofing of the yeast is complete, it is then time to add two cups of luke warm water to the mixture, if the proofing went well. Before adding these cups it is advised that you check to make sure that the temperature is at least one hundred and five degrees Fahrenheit. While you add each ingredient it is suggested that you stir continually to get the best results.
With the bowl set flat on the counter add in three and a half cups of all-purpose flour. Add one cup at a time and mix along the process. When adding flour or any other ingredient that is measured be sure that you do not heap, meaning make sure that you have an even level in each measurement so that it does not create a dense or heavy loaf.
Mixing everything together, add a level tablespoon of salt and a half stick of room temperature butter. It is best if the butter is unsalted. After mixing those two ingredients in, you can continue adding the bread or all-purpose flour, but this time you will only add about three level cups. Leave the other half of a cup in case you might not need it. By assessing the dough for stickiness you will be able to tell if it needs any more flour or not. The dough should not be very sticky at this point.
This is where the fun starts to begin. After sprinkling flour on a clean and sanitized counter take the dough out of the bowl and place it on the floured counter. It is thick enough that you can use your hands to mix it from this point on. You can use your hands for the whole process if you choose to do so. Once the dough is on the counter, you will begin to knead it for about ten to fifteen minutes. Kneading dough is easy you simple push the dough, fold one side of it, turn it a little, then push it again and begin the process over. The flour that is on the counter should start to disappear as the dough becomes less sticky. You might need to add a little more flour to the dough or the counter top. This step is complete when the dough is smooth and no longer sticky to your hands or the counter top.
Prepare a bowl so that the dough can rest in. The easiest way to do this is to take the larger mixing bowl that is at least double the size of the dough if not triple and put a little vegetable oil in the bottom of it. Then take the dough and flip it in the oil so that it is completely covered. Saran wrap should be placed over the bowl and the bowl should be put in a dry area so that it can rest and rise. The dough normally doubles in size during the next forty five minutes to an hour. During this time you can choose to take a break yourself or you can clean up the kitchen from the progress of the first stages of making your own bread from scratch.
Take your two eight and a half by four and a half inch loaf pans and butter them. This should be done about five to ten minutes before you are ready to pull out the dough. Take the dough out of the dry area and unwrap it. The fun part of the whole process is beating up the dough. Punch the dough to help deflate it, removing any air pockets that are present. After putting a little more flour on the counter, take the dough out and mold it into a loaf like oval, then cut it at the halfway mark. You can choose to measure each end to get it perfectly even in weight. Once you have both halves, take your hand or a rolling pin and flatten both pieces to about twelve by nine being sure not to press to hard.
After both pieces are flattened into a twelve by nine, take the top two thirds portion of one of the pieces and fold it down over the middle like a letter. Do the same with the bottom two thirds and then tuck in the sides and pinch the seams. Then you can flip it over and put it in one of the buttered loaf pans. The exact same process should be administered to the other piece of dough. Take the saran wrap and put a little vegetable oil on one side then place the oil side down towards the dough in the loaf man and wrap it around the pan. Leave the loaf pans on the counter at room temperature for one hour. This is the second rising or rest period.
About fifteen minutes before the hour resting period is up, preheat the oven to three hundred and seventy five degrees Fahrenheit. Once the hour is up the dough should have doubled in size. Place both loaf pans in the over on the center rack spaced evenly away from each other and the walls of the oven so that they can be evenly baked. The dough will bake for about thirty five minutes. Ten minutes before the bread is finished, you can choose to take it out of the loaf pans and put it on a baking rack so that the sides and bottom can get golden brown, but this is optional.
When the time is up, the finished bread should have a hollow sound when you knock on it or you can choose to check the temperature which should be right around two hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Take the bread and put it on a cooling rack away from the stove and the heat. It is advised that you wait until the bread is almost completely cooled before cutting it because if you cut it too early you could cause the moisture to escape out of the bread leaving it dry and undesirable.
The last thing to do is to cut the bread and enjoy it. You can use any type of cutting knife but the recommended one is a serrated edged knife. You can also choose the size of each slice according to what you and your family likes. After you have cut the bread, storage can be done in a sealed container and placed in a dry area. Making bread from scratch can save you money and leave you feeling as if you have conquered the toughest feat of the baking world.
The video below is not directly related to the steps above, however the video is very detailed and would be great instruction for someone starting out making bread from scratch.