I learned to bake bread at my grandmother’s side with a lump of dough in my hand; kneading it because it was fun. The aroma of the fresh-baked loaves being taken out of the oven has been imprinted in my sensory memory banks. Nothing beats the taste of that first delicious bite of warm bread slathered with butter and home-made preserves.
Grandma baked throughout the week. I never saw a store-bought loaf of bread, cookies, pastries or cakes in her house. Baking was a routine part of life that was simply worked into the weekly schedule.
This past year our family has taken a baby step to life’s independence by baking our own bread, rolls, cookies and cakes for the family. The benefits of baking are great including a higher quality, fresher product at a 1/3 of the cost of a store-bought bakery case item. Baking bread alone is saving our family $200 -$300 a year in savings while adding to our healthier quality in life. Mixing and kneading dough is both meditating and de-stressing. Enjoy the gratification of turning a few simple ingredients into a delicious satisfying finished product that will deliver you compliments with every loaf shared.
Here is our fool-proof recipe that makes two wonderfully light and tasty loaves of white bread that are perfect for slicing, sandwiches and toast.
White Bread Recipe – (Makes two large loaves)
1 1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons Water
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
3 tablespoons Sugar
4 1/2 cups White Flour
2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
Grease 2 bread pans. Activate yeast with the 2 tablespoons warm (not hot) water. Set yeast mixture aside while combining all other ingredients. Add yeast mixture and mix all ingredients until dough is formed.
Place dough ball in a large greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let rise until doubled in size. Punch down then divide evenly into two. Gently knead into loaf shape on a lightly floured surface. Place into greased bread pans, cover with saved cling wrap and wait until loaves are doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place two loaves on middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 365 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Pull loaves from the oven and cool on counter. Slice and bag once loaves are cool.
Take another baby step and learn to bake bread together.
Share the art and reap the rewards – Jabbear
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