Sunday, August 9, 2015

Feeling Accomplished: Bread Making Success!

Three Loaves of Bread


On my to do list this weekend was a rather tentative "Bake bread?"

I first tried making bread from scratch several years ago and I think I added too hot water and killed the yeast!  The dough never rose and I ended up with a brick.  I tried another time, after that, and again, I baked a very dense loaf that was not how bread was supposed to be.  After that, I sort of gave up baking yeast bread from scratch.

But I have been longing to bake my own bread from scratch.  A proper loaf of hand-kneaded yeast bread.  

And today, I did just that!  I used the recipe for White Bread from my old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (they all say "New Cook Book", but this copy is an older edition; I don't have the page with the publication year information, but I've had this book since the early 1980s).  I followed the   "Conventional Method" where the yeast is "proofed" first; my previous efforts had been using the "Easy-Mix White Bread" recipe where the yeast was added to the flour, directly.  The newer BH&G cook book (copyright 2006; 14th edition) I have only gives the recipe where the yeast is added directly to the flour, and it's simply called "White Bread".  I had bought the newer cookbook to replace the older edition, but I am glad I kept the older copy, too, although the step-by-step photographs in the newer book were very helpful.

Recipe directions, in brief:  1 package of yeast softened in 1/4 cup of warm water.  2 cups of milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons salt (I reduced it to 1 1/2 tsp), and 1 tablespoon of butter heated till warm and mixed with 2 cups of flour.  I used all purpose flour since that is what the recipe listed and that is what I had on hand.   The recipe called for 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups of flour, total.  Add the yeast mixture to the milk and flour mixture and beat well.  Add as much flour as can be mixed with a spoon.  Then, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  I needed a little more than 6 1/4 cups, as my dough seemed rather sticky; I think I used about 7 cups.

I admit to feeling a little nervous about kneading the dough by hand, as I was not sure if I'd be able to knead it sufficiently.  I do have a mixer with a dough hook that I could have used, but I wanted to try it by hand (less things to pull out of cabinets, set up, wash, etc.)  Knead for 6-8 minutes, said the recipe; I think I kneaded for a bit longer.  Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and keep in a warm place to rise until doubled (1 1/4 hours; mine was doubled in less than 1 hour).  

Punch down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half, shape into two balls.  Let rest for 10 minutes, covered.  Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans, shape each ball of dough into a loaf.  My loaf pans are slightly bigger (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2), and I had enough dough for another, slightly smaller loaf pan, as well.  Place in pans, brush with some melted butter, cover and allow to rise until nearly doubled (45-60 minutes).  Bake in a 375F oven for about 45 minutes or till the bread tests done (sounds hollow when tapped).

My bread was done in 45 minutes.  I let it cool a bit and then, sliced the smaller loaf to see how it looked.  I think it turned out well:


Sliced Freshly Baked Bread

I had the bread, spread with a little butter, while still warm!  It was good.  I froze one loaf to keep for daughter to try, when she comes home, next week.  I might freeze the 2nd larger loaf, too. 

I feel very accomplished and proud of myself for finally being able to make bread from scratch!  LOL.

In addition, I did another load of laundry, mended daughter's knit top, continued to repair her quilt top, washed dishes, and did a little paperwork.  Still need to wash all the baking pans and mop the kitchen.


Today, I am grateful for:


- Successfully baking bread! 


How was your Sunday?  Did you have a good day?

6 comments:

  1. Good job! I love the smell of baking bread, amazing.

    My Sunday was good. The husband got up with Little Wolf and I got to sleep in for 3 hours. It was great :-)

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    1. I am so glad you got to sleep in a bit! That was nice of your husband to watch Little Wolf while you slept.

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  2. hi, posted, needed to leave for a few minute and it disappeared...sorry if this is a repeat.
    Lovely bread, I hope you enjoyed the process. I wondered if you tally your per loaf costs. Cutting in 3rds might suit you taking each out of the freezer as needed. I so enjoyed trying out different types [cinnamon, fruit, egg, raisin] that I impulsively bought a nearly new breadmaker at Goodwill. I loved making bread at night so we had a small, fresh loaf each morning...however, we both noticed our waistlines growing so I sent it off to my DSIL next time we visited in that city.

    I've had a different surgical procedure which seems to be ok but I won't know the outcome until I've completed the 3rd set of tests, 3 months from now. I'm home, but not functioning. DH is still a wreck so I've hired a university student who lives nearby for 3 hours, every other day until I can do more.

    I sit on DH's office chair and paddle my way around the kitchen to make dinner. It takes an hour to make a 5 ingredient casserole that takes housewives 20 minutes tops! Bagged salad and fruit for dessert but I'm alive!

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  3. Hon, so glad to hear that the surgical procedure went well and you are home now. Please take it easy and get plenty of rest; don't try to do things too soon or overdo things. I'm glad you have someone coming in to help you. I hope your 3 months results will be fine.

    Yes, I calculated the cost! LOL. You know me too well! 1 pkt. yeast at $1.99 for 3 packets = $.66@; about 7 cups flour = not quite 2lbs @ $.40/lb (bought 5 lbs. for $1.99) = $.75. The cost of the sugar and salt is negligible; perhaps $.05? Add another $.06 for the 1 tbsp. butter ($2/lb; $.50/1/4 lb. stick; 8 tsp/stick; 1 tsp = $.0625); $.33 for 2 c. (16 oz) milk (1 gal = 126 fl.oz. = $2.59); the cost of ingredients for all 3 loaves come to approx. $1.85. Plus the cost of baking. My oven is gas and I don't know how much it costs to preheat and bake for 45 mins. If I estimate $1 to $2, the cost of baking the 3 loaves of bread will be $2.85 to $3.85. So, cost per loaf would be about $.95 to $1.30. I pay $1.99/loaf for similar bakery bread (as opposed to the regular, soft white bread which costs $1 to $1.25); frozen bread dough costs $4.95 for 3 loaves. I enjoyed making the bread, and, I don't have to worry about preservatives, additives, etc. I will try variations, next time. :)

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  4. Congrats on making your bread from scratch. I too, have had bad luck with making homemade bread from scratch..
    I bought me a bread machine , and I do make bread in it pretty often..But still, not that satisfaction of doing it your self. Maybe I will try again.ha
    Have a blessed week.

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    1. Judy, I'm sure your bread machine is a time saver. I just wanted to know that I could do it by myself with minimal equipment.

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