Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Bread

I don’t pretend to be an expert bread maker.  The fact that I can make it though, tells you it is not that difficult.  I’ll give you just a couple recipes for simple bread today to get you started if you have never tried to make it.  If you are an expert, then share your knowledge and pass it forward.  I’ll also give you a sweet roll recipe I found and use when the mood hits me.  It is a nice treat to take to a get together.

I already gave you this biscuit recipe but I’ll save you looking it up.  I won’t share the banana bread, zucchini or sweet bread recipes that I have already posted.  You can look them up in my old blog postings.


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk (approx)

Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in a food processor.

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.

If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined.  If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently, gently pat (do not roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times; gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.  Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and do not let them touching each other.

If you like "crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart.   These will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.

Bake for about 10 to12 minutes. The biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.  Do not over bake.

The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.  Do not over mix.  The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.  I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of over mixing.  You also must pat the dough out lightly with your hands.  Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to over stimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.

When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.  You may freeze these and bake as you need them.

Irish Soda Bread

I make this for St. Patrick’s Day.  You do not use yeast and it is super simple.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. 

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened.  Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

Bread for Beginners

This is the easiest one-loaf yeast bread you will ever bake. The Super Easy Bread for Beginners recipe produces a soft crust and a moist center using the most basic ingredients that can be found in most kitchens.

3/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

In large bowl, add the warm water (Not too hot or it will kill the yeast). Slowly stir in dry yeast. Continue to stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add salt, sugar, shortening, and milk to bowl and stir.  Mix in the first 2 cups of flour.

If needed, begin adding more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough chases the spoon around the bowl.

You do not need to use up all the flour called for in this recipe, or you may need more flour than called for. The amounts vary depending on many factors, including weather, which is why most bread recipes only give an approximate amount of flour needed.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.

Put dough in buttered bowl, turn dough over so that the top of dough is greased. Cover with a cloth dish towel and let rise in warm spot for a minimum of 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.

Form dough into loaf and set in buttered bread pan. Score dough by cutting slashes across the top with a sharp knife. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. 

Beer Bread

This one loaf beer bread recipe is also a beginner’s bread. It uses only one cup of the beer of your choice and has a lovely beer flavor after it’s baked. It’s great for snacking, football game munchies, and for dipping into a bowl of chili.

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup beer at room temperature
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp sugar
1 ½  tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
In small bowl, mix warm water and yeast.  If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.  Stir until yeast is dissolved.  Salt will also kill yeast so it should never be added before other ingredients.
In large bowl, add beer, cream cheese, sugar, and salt. Pour in yeast and stir.
Mix in 2 ½ cups flour. Turn out onto floured board and knead in the remaining half cup of flour or until the dough is soft and smooth.  The kneading is important to get the glutens working. 
Put dough in greased bowl and turn dough so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes, or until double in size.
Punch down dough with your fist. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead again.
Punching down deflates the dough, getting the air out of the dough so that you can knead it and form it into loaves
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Form dough into 1 loaf. Put into buttered bread pan. Cover and let rise until double in size.
Score dough by cutting  slashes across the top with a sharp knife. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup water - warm
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 3/4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let it rest.

Scald milk - 1 minute in Microwave.

Add butter to milk to melt.  Stir salt, sugar and eggs together, beat with a fork.  Add yeast to mixture.  Add flour all at once, mixing well.  I use my Kitchen Aide mixer to mix but you can do by hand also.  Put in a clean greased bowl and cover with a towel.  Let the dough rise until double.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness in a rectangle shape. Soften 1 stick of butter and spread evenly over your dough rectangle.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture (1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon), then roll gently away from you until at the edge and pinch firmly together to seal roll.

Cut into 1 inch slices. a place on a prepared cookie sheet which has been sprayed with a non stick spray.   Space the rolls 2 inches apart so they can rise.  Cover with towel again and let sit in a warm place.  Let them rise until they have doubled in size. (Approximately 1 to 2 hours).

Bake at 375° F. for 10-15 min, until golden.  It should make approximately 18 rolls.
When cooled you can frost with a simple powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk glaze.  

Variations:  Some people like to add pecan or raisins to their rolls.  After you have spread the cinnamon and sugar and before rolling the dough, add your extras.  You can also use dried cranberries.  Or do not make it into rolls by cutting it, put it in loaf pans and make cinnamon bread.

Make some homemade bread for people you love this week.  Make the house smell like baked bread and then break bread with your family. 

Be happy and may God Bless you and yours. 

No comments:

Post a Comment