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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Homemade White Bread

I  had been wanting to bake bread for a while. So, I finally decided to pick up some bread flour (well it made sense that bread would need bread flour) from my farmer's market. I came home and began my search for simple white bread. Now, I had heard that making bread is cumbersome and a laborious process, so I was prepared to find really long and daunting recipes. To my dismay, I did find several recipes, but none for simple white bread and even fewer that used bread  flour. After searching online for about an hour, I decided to call Mommy dearest.  And as usual I wasn't disappointed. I did refer to the allrecipes website too and between recipes there and my mom's help I baked a wonderful loaf of white bread.

I also made a fresh batch of strawberry jam. The combination was just scrumptious and both were ready just in time for our afternoon snack. My family really loved the bread and  I know for sure that I will be baking bread more frequently now. I plan to try all the different variations that I came across during my search.

1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 tbsp and 1.5 tsp sugar
1.25 cups warm water
1 tbsp and 1.5 tsp canola oil
1.5 tsp salt
3-1/4 cups bread flour
1 tbsp oil to grease bowls

Heat the water in the microwave for a minute, or on the cooktop till its warm. To this add the sugar and yeast and set aside for 5-10 mins. This mixture will turn frothy after 10 mins. In a mixing bowl, take 1.5 cups of bread flour, add the salt and oil to this. Stir these ingredients well. Add the water and yeast mixture and mix well. The resultant mixture will resemble a mesh of dough, look frothy and will be very sticky. To this add the remaining flour about half a cup at a time and incorporate this while kneading the dough well. Once all the dough has been incorporated and the dough comes together in a ball, knead this for about 10 mins. Transfer this to a bowl which has been greased with oil and cover the bread dough with a moist towel. Set this in a warm place for about 1- 1.5 hours till the dough has risen and is double in volume.

Take this risen dough, deflate it and knead it turning it inside out for another 5-8 mins. Grease your baking tin or bread tin well and transfer the dough to this. Let the dough rise for the second time till it is double in size. At this point in time, you are ready to bake your bread. The second rise time can vary and it took me about 2.5 hours for the dough to rise.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F and then bake the bread at 375 F for 30-40 minutes. It took me 40 minutes for the bread to look completely done. It was well browned on the top and sides as well.

The water-yeast mixture must be frothy before its added to the flour. This helps you gauge the effectiveness of your yeast if it is old. If it doesn't become frothy, you need a new packet of yeast. It is not easy to knead dough made from bread flour, as it is a hard wheat flour. However, the longer you knead it, the better the gluten bonds and the lighter your bread will be. You can assist the dough rising process by keeping the dough in your oven with the light on to provide a warm environment for the yeast.


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  2. hi there,
    I want to try this bread soon, just one question.. do i need to deflate the dough once it has risen the second time or just put the baking tin directly into the oven?


  3. hi Sana,
    Do not deflate the dough after the 2nd rise. Put the bread dough into the pan that you plan to bake it in, to rise the second time and then directly put that pan into the oven.

  4. Hi,
    How do you slice the bread so perfectly? What tools do you use?

    1. Hi Dimple,

      I use a serrated knife to slice the bread. Also, use a sawing motion and slowly go through the width.