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?


  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 :-)

    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.

  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!

  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. :)

  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.

    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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