Thursday, January 10, 2019

YEAST BREAD FOR BEGINNERS

COME ON, BE BRAVE!!!
YOU CAN MAKE GREAT BREAD !!


I've been making this bread recipe (at least once a week) for nearly 40 years and it has never failed me. It is a basic, no frills, white bread that goes together in minutes and is nearly fool proof. 




OR



4 to 5 cups Better for Bread Flour (see note below about flour)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Scant tablespoon of table salt
2 envelopes of rapid rise yeast (see note about yeast)
4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 1/2 cups very warm (not hot) water (about 120 degrees)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 1 cup of bread flour, 2 packets of rapid rise yeast, 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 scant tablespoon of table salt and 4 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil.

Stir together, then add 2 1/2 cups warm water. Mix with spoon and let it all sit for about 10 minutes to "bloom" the yeast.

If you are concerned about the temperature of the water in this recipe, you can use an instant read thermometer, but it is NOT rocket science and after you make bread a few times, you will learn exactly what the water temperature is supposed to feel like, just by holding your hand under the running tap water. It should be about 120 degrees (I call it "baby bottle warm") 😉



After the yeast-dough has "bloomed" for about 10 minutes, start adding the rest of the flour...1/2 cup at a time, mixing with a sturdy spoon in between each addition. When the dough gets too thick for your spoon, attach a dough hook to your stand mixer and turn it to low.

NOW HERE IS AN IMPORTANT TIP

When adding flour (at this stage) something I call "dough shag" is (can be) your enemy. If you have added too much flour, too fast, you will get "dough shag" or dry shaggy pieces of dough.

Click on this next photo so you can see the dry white sections next to the wet sections of dough. 

Click on the photo to see the
shag more clearly


 Shag is not totally a bad thing, it is simply a clue that it is NOT time to add more flour yet. NEVER ADD MORE FLOUR IF YOU CAN SEE SHAG.

Here is another photo, see the shag?
I intentionally added the flour a little too quickly (in this next photo) so you could see what I mean by "shag".


Click on photo


 Don't panic if you see shag, just keep "kneading" with your dough hook (or by hand) and the shag will eventually incorporate into the wet dough. 

Don't add more flour until your dough looks more like this:



When get all the flour worked into the dough, let your machine knead the dough (gently, on a low setting) for about 6-8 minutes (or by hand for 6-8 minutes).

Stop your mixer every once in a while and pull all the dough off of the dough hook, scrape down the inside walls of your bowl and turn the ball of dough completely over and start the mixer again. You will need to do this a few times until the shag totally disappears and the dough clings together in a nice semi-solid "glob".

At the end of 6 to 8 minutes of kneading, (exact time is not critical), the dough should have worked itself into a smooth ball that stays on the dough hook when you raise the hook out of the bowl. The interior walls of the bowl should be fairly clean and should look like this:





See how the dough ball has "cleaned" all of the little bits off of the bottom and sides of the bowl? This is what you want to see. The dough will not be sticky and it will feel sort of like warm "Play Doh" when you touch it. 

When your final dough is smooth, remove it from the dough hook, form it into a ball and place it in a greased bowl (I just use a little vegetable spray). Then spray the top of the dough with a little more, and cover it with plastic:






 Place this covered bowl of dough in a nice warm place in your kitchen. Room temperature is OK, but if you have a warmer place (less than 100 degrees) place it there. After an hour, your dough will have doubled in size.




Your dough should look
like this after an hour
(doubled in size)

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto your counter. Some people say flour the counter at this stage, but I NEVER do. Push all of the air out of the dough and cover it with an inverted empty bowl (or plastic wrap) and let it sit for 15 minutes to relax (this will make your dough much easier to handle when you try to form it).

Depending on how you want to shape your dough, follow these general directions:

If you are making loaf bread for slicing, cut the dough into two or three equal pieces, depending on how large your loaf pans are. I like to use 9"x 5" loaf pans (this recipe makes 2 loaves).

Roll each piece into a rectangle about 8"x 10" (size not critical). Starting at the short end, roll it up tightly into a log and pinch all of the "seams" shut. Place in a greased loaf pan (I use vegetable spray) and then I spray a little more on the top of the formed dough. 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it raise for 1 hour or until it is doubled in size. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and brush top with butter (optional) and let it cool on a baking rack.

If you are making rolls, just pinch off pieces about the size of a golf ball, roll them into a round shape and place them in a greased 9" baking pan with sides of the "dough balls" almost touching. Spray a little vegetable spray on top and loosely cover with plastic. Let raise for an hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and brush tops with butter (optional) and let them cool on baking rack.

 
Hamburger Buns

Sandwich Rolls 



This bread freezes 
very well

NOTE ABOUT YEAST

The kind of yeast you use makes a HUGE difference. Not the BRAND of yeast, but the KIND of yeast.I recommend QUICK RISE (also known as instant yeast or bread machine yeast)

Regular Active Dry Yeast works well too, 
but it takes longer to "bloom" AND raise. You will have to dissolve it in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 minutes BEFORE you add to the recipe.

Whatever kind of yeast you use, just be 
sure to check the expiration date on the yeast!!!!!!!!!!!


Make sure you use a 
HIGH GLUTEN (BREAD) FLOUR,
this is extremely important.

I made mediocre bread for years, until I discovered these two BREAD FLOURS; they made all the difference in the world.

Personally, I like the
Gold Medal Flour the best!!

If your flour is six months old, THROW IT OUT!!



NOTE ABOUT DOUGH RISE: Some people have granite counter tops which are usually cool to the touch. This will effect the length of time your bread takes to raise. I suggest that you find a warmer place to let your bowl of dough raise than on granite. You can also place a nice thick towel on your granite counter top and let your bread pan sit on top of the towel. Make sure there is no draft in the area where you let your dough raise.

I hope you give this recipe a try, it really is fun once you get over the "nervousness" of bread making. You can use this recipe to make sandwich bread, bread rolls, bread sticks, pizza dough  and a million other things........come on, you CAN make bread....be brave and have fun!!



ENJOY !!!!!

2 comments:

Dianna said...

Hello Coleen,
I've been struggling with bread making and just can't get it right. After reading your instructions I believe there is hope in taming this monster. Your instructions and photos were superb! Thank you for sharing your expertise.

Coleens Recipes said...

Good luck Dianna!! Let me know how it goes. Coleen