13 January 2022
Baking bread can seem intimidating but it is not necessarily difficult. However, it will take patience and a good block of time. You won’t be working on the loaf the entire time, but you should be around to monitor its rising.
Some tips are:
- Use the right yeast (fresh, fast acting, and dried) as per the recipe. Check the dates to be sure it is still viable.
- Different flours have different results.
- Measure carefully, especially the salt.
- Water too hot will kill the yeast action; rise the dough in a warm, but not hot, area. Rising times will vary. Don’t let it go too long.
You will know if the dough is risen sufficiently if you touch the center with a floured finger and the indentation remains.
Bread doesn’t need to be baked in loaf pans. Using a round casserole dish will give you the best chance at forming a bowl. Just be sure the bowl or dish is oven safe to at least 400 degrees.
A large bread bowl is good for a dip to serve at a party. Smaller versions are fun for a hearty soup, stew, or chili.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
- ½ cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixer bowl.
- Add milk, 2/3 cup butter, eggs, salt, and 1 cup flour
- Using a paddle attachment, combine for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl
- Add remaining flour until smooth
Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
Punch down the dough to release the accumulated gas. Place in a greased 2-quart round casserole dish. Cover. Let it rise until double, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375. Place on a low rack so that the top of the casserole is in the center of the oven. Casserole should not touch the sides of the oven.
Bake until loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped, or about 40 to 45 minutes.
Immediately remove from the casserole dish to cool on a wire rack. Brush top of loaf with butter.
- Cheese: Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and ½ teaspoon pepper with second addition of the flour.
- Taco: Substitute ½ cup cornmeal for ½ cup of the second addition of the flour. Add 1 cup shredded hot pepper cheese and 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped green chilies (drained), with the second addition of flour. Brush top of loaf with butter and sprinkle with cornmeal before baking.
- Whole Wheat: Substitute 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour for 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour in the second addition.