Making bread has to be one of the most satisfying things so I want to show you how to make homemade bread.
I love the process, and find it very therapeutic, it’s like working with a live being.
I love the feel of the dough forming in my hands, the kneaded dough rising, that will soon transform into baked bread.
There are all kinds of ways to methods, from bread machines to the good old fashioned two hand way.
Bread machines have come a long way, and some people swear by them.
I wouldn’t bake in them but they are good for mixing and kneading dough.
Learning all the different methods of baking, and the different bread recipes can be a fun hobby.
Bread Baking for Beginners
The first thing I would say about making bread is to relax, because you can always fix things if they go wrong.
In my book, any kind of bread is good bread.
There is a place for every loaf that is baked, and I rarely won’t eat one.
First off there are different types of flour to consider, from bread flours, to rye, and whole wheat flours.
Each will have a different flavor and will react differently when incorporated in bread baking.
It is possibly best to start with making a simple white bread loaf using bread flour.
This has a higher gluten content than other flours.
Use instant yeast as this will not need to be activated like active dry yeast.
Next you will need a warm place where you can cover your dough to proof.
Proofing is the process in which dough is left to rest and rise before it is put in the oven for baking.
I would recommend investing in a baking stone for your oven, as this is a good way to get a superior loaf.
The stone absorbs heat which allows for your loaf of bread to bake at a higher temperature.
The higher heat allows the bread to rise and expand, and will help give your loaf a crunchier crust.
How to Make Homemade Bread
In a large bowl place the flour, salt and instant yeast in a bowl.
Whisk to mix well, make a well in the middle and pour in the water.
Begin to mix with your hands by slowly bringing the flour from the edges to incorporate with the water.
As the dough begins to form you will want to keep a balance between a dough that is too dry and hard, and too wet and sticky.
It is preferable to have a dough that is a bit more on the wet side rather than one that is too dry.
It is very common for dough to be adjusted as you are in the middle of making it.
If too dry add liquid, and if too wet, add flour.
Once your dough has formed to the consistency you want it, knead it for a few minutes to help develop the gluten.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place.
Then allow it to rise for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and knead again for a few minutes.
Cut the dough into the loaves sizes you want and shape or put them in greased tins.
Dough that is not going in a tin can be placed on parchment paper, covered with a damp kitchen towel.
Another way to bake the dough is in a cast iron pan.
But whatever you decide, allow the loaves to rise for at least an hour.
Once the loaves have risen, uncover and use a very sharp knife to make a slit or two on the top.
Preheat the oven to a hot temperature of 450ºF (230ºC), and best to use a baking stone if you have one.
Bake the bread for roughly 30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown.
When turned over, it sounds hollow when knocked on.
Remove bread and place it on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely before slicing into the bread.
Tips for Making
- Have plenty of flour on hand to be sure things don’t get too sticky on the sides of the bowl you are using.
- For yeasted breads try and use instant yeast so that it’s not necessary to activate the yeast before getting started.
- Knead bread using a stand mixer with a dough hook if you have one, otherwise hands are fine.
Homemade Bread Recipe
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Add the water and mix until a dough forms. Knead for five to ten minutes.
- Place in a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to allow the dough to rise.
- After about an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Pour the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 5 more minutes.
- Remove the cloth and make a slit on the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife.
- Place the loaf in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when knocking on the bottom.