Hello, fellow bread makers—pros and novices, alike!
I want to share a recipe for a basic loaf of bread with you. Using this recipe, you can make one loaf or six, depending on your requirements. Even better? It’s a great starter recipe just the way it’s written, but once you get the hang of things, you can use different flours (like whole wheat) or add goodies like oatmeal, sunflower seeds, or chopped nuts. Whatever you can think to add, go ahead and experiment. You might love the results and have a new family favorite!
Okay…let’s get started!
Basic Per Loaf Bread
For each loaf you wish to make, use the following measurements:
- 1 c. warm water (about 110°) or half water, half milk
- 1 tsp. melted shortening, butter, or oil
- 1 scant tsp. salt
- 1 T. sugar, brown sugar, or honey
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 3 c. flour, more or less
In large bowl, stir together the water, melted shortening, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let mixture stand until the yeast starts bubbling – about 10 minutes.
Stir in about half the amount of flour you’re using (i.e., 1½ cups for one loaf) and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. (You can use an electric mixer for this part, but I never do.) Keep mixing and adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough onto a floured work surface (I use my just-cleaned kitchen counter) and knead well for about 8-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed so it doesn’t stick. Your kneaded dough will look like this:
Grease a large bowl and also grease the ball of dough. Place it into the bowl, cover with a towel, and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Once it’s doubled, give the dough a good whack, knead it a few times, and then place the dough ball (greased again) back into the greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled a second time.
Isn’t that pretty? Now, shape the dough into a loaf and place it into a greased bread pan.
This doesn’t look like much, but trust me. Cover the pan, and let rise again until about an inch over the top of the pan, and that puny-looking loaf will soon look like this:
Preheat oven to 400° and place the bread into the oven, immediately turning down the heat to 350°. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan, setting the loaf on a cooling rack.
This bread is great plain, toasted, and used for sandwiches. I hope you try it for yourself—your loved ones will definitely appreciate it!
Georgia Varozza is the author of the popular book, The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (nearly 60,000 copies sold), enjoys teaching people how to prepare and preserve healthy foods, live simply, and get the most from what they have. Her latest release, written with Kathleen Kerr, is The Amish Baking Cookbook. She works in publishing and lives in a small Oregon community.
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