I wanna bake bread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 07-23-2008, 02:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I have never before baked my own bread (unless cresent rolls count) but I want to learn how. I would love to get some recipies from everyone especially for buns and sourdough bread. Yeah!! Thanks
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#2 of 11 Old 07-23-2008, 03:19 AM
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I'm assuming you mean yeast bread. Do you have a bread machine or standing mixer? That will probably change the kinds of answers you get. My favorite recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It gets raves every time and is simple to make. I've worded this recipe as if you were going to be kneading by hand.

Mixed Grain Bread

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cups of water
1/2 cups of cracked wheat (sometimes packaged as bulghur)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cooking oil (I usually use butter instead)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I've had success substituting more wheat flour for all-purpose above, but it makes your dough stickier)
1/2 cup rolled oats
Rolled oats

1. Combine 2 cups of the all-purpose flour and the yeast. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, cracked wheat, cornmeal, brown sugar, oil (butter) and salt. Heat and stir over medium-low heat until lukewarm (I usually stick my finger in it...not technically kosher, but if it feels like bathwater, I say it's done) or 120-130 degrees F.
3. Add the milk mixture to the flour and yeast mixture.
4. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the whole wheat flour, the 1/2 cup rolled oats, and as much as the remaining all-purpose flour as you can. For me, this usually is where the kneading starts.

Here you can find a good tutorial on kneading.

6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. I usually use my kitchen table for this, as it is lower and gives me greater leverage (I have weak skinny arms!). Knead in enough of the all-purpose flour to make a dough that is smooth and elastic, not sticky. You should knead for about 8 minutes.
7. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it into a greased bowl (I usually use butter to grease), turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).
8. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
9. Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans. If you don't have a loaf pan you can shape the dough however you want and bake on a stone or cookie sheet, but the crust will be crispier and you probably won't want to bake it as long.
10. Shape the dough into loaves and place it into greased pans. Cover the pans and let the dough rise until nearly double in size (30 mins-ish).
11. Brush the tops of the loaves with water and sprinkle with additional rolled oats. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
12. Remove pans from oven, then immediately remove loaves from pans and cool on wire racks.
13. Try to refrain from eating the bread...it will be hot for a while!

I hope I helped! This is a great beginners recipe because it is complicated enough to feel like an accomplishment, but easy enough to not mess up!

Alicewyf: Doula, wife to DH, and mama to Lillian (7/09) , Daniel (6/12). (11/14).
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#3 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 04:34 PM
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If you don't have one, I would highly suggest getting a bread machine. They will come with a recipe book, and you can find tons more on the net.

The good thing about a bread machine is it will get you used to what the bread should look/feel like, with little error. Also, if you pay attention to the cycles, you will get a feel for how long the dough needs to rise. Plus, a lot of bread machines have these great features where you can set it up in the morning, and time it for when you get home from work/school.

Sure, its not the same as doing everything 'by hand', but for a beginner, its an awesome way to get the swing of things. Plus, its EASY!
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#4 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 05:01 PM
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Here's a no knead recipe. I haven't tried it yet but I'm planning on doing so next week. Just need to buy or borrow a pot that will work!

Mama of three.
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#5 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 05:16 PM
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bread-baking is so much fun. YOu can a good whole wheat recipe in moosewood and probably laurel's kitchen, but the simplest bread by far is just flour, water, salt, yeast. It's crusty and chewy and good - you can read about this kind of bread in a very nice newish book called, uh... Artisan Bread something or other - amazon has it

I use this recipe for daily bread - make up a huge bucket and keep it in the fridge, cut off a hunk each day and bake a half hour. Obviously you can double or triple or whatever.

1.5 C water
3 C flour
1 t yeast
1 t salt

This makes a very wet dough - you just need some extra flour to handle it and form it into a loaf - you don't need to knead.

Personally, for someone just starting out, I think it might be good to add an extra cup of flour and make it less wet - then you can go ahead and work with it more easily, knead if you want.

Honestly, bread dough is SO forgiving. IME, the bigger mistakes have to do with bake time and temp. Keeping it in long enough is a big hurdle for me - I often have it somewhat underdone in the center.
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#6 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 06:36 PM
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Pancake goddess... does that recipe work with whole wheat flour, or white flour? or both? Cause that sounds awesome! Do you bake it in a bread pan or just on a baking sheet.. or how!
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#7 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 07:58 PM
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if you like the sound of it, you should consider buying or borrowing that book. here it is

Yes, I use ww or white - usually a combo, 1:2 ratio ww/white. I've used bread pan, made baguettes, just a round ball... recently I discovered this very fun and easy method:
there is a tutorial online but I can't find it.

so, also, if you think you want to use it for sandwiches and your kids won't eat hard crusty crust, you might want to go ahead and also learn the methods with milk and so forth - they come out softer.

have fun, yay.
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#8 of 11 Old 07-26-2008, 08:38 PM
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I make all of our bread, so I bake at least 2x a week. My 2 favorite cookbooks for bread are Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads and The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I LOVE these books!! But a lot of the time I just make something up. I think it's more fun that way.

Erin, mom to Amelia Rose:, 6/15/06 and Lily Grace, 6/7/09; wife to Phil since 10/9/04
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#9 of 11 Old 08-03-2008, 09:40 PM
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What is more recommended? A bread machine, or a stand mixer, and then baking in the oven.
I used to make the dough by hand, but since I've given birth my wrists aren't as strong, and I can't do it well anymore. My mother bakes every week, and still by hand!


Mom to 4 Boys
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#10 of 11 Old 08-03-2008, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by abemom2 View Post
What is more recommended? A bread machine, or a stand mixer, and then baking in the oven.
I used to make the dough by hand, but since I've given birth my wrists aren't as strong, and I can't do it well anymore. My mother bakes every week, and still by hand!

Most of the newer bread machines have settings where it will just make the dough, then let it rise, then kneed again, then stop (usually beeping very loudly to let you know its done).

Sure its kind of cheating, but its a good way to insure you get good dough every time!
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#11 of 11 Old 08-03-2008, 11:11 PM
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My bread machine died, so I've been making this by hand for a few weeks. This is my favorite bread recipe. I've been making it for 6 months or so now and modified it a bit. It was originally taken from Cooks Illustrated, but I put in a few changes:

1 1/4 C 7 grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 C boiling water
2 2/3 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C vital wheat gluten
4 T honey
4 T unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 T table salt
3/4 C unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

Pour boiling water over hot cereal. Let stand 1 hour. Add butter, yeast, and honey. Let stand 15 minutes. In large bowl, mix yeast/honey/butter mixture with wheat flour, salt, and wheat gluten (mix with spoon). Add as much all-purpose flour as you can stir in, then start kneading. Knead in remaining flour a little at a time. Knead bread for 10 minutes. Place in lightly oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour. Remove from bowl and pat into a 9X12 rectangle. Cut in half. Shape 2 loaves and roll in oats to coat the outside. Place loaves in 2 greased 9X5 pans and let rise until doubled in size (30-40 minutes). Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes (until internal temp reaches 200). I'll be honest. I bake mine about 25-30 minutes. It makes for super soft excellent sandwich bread. The crust is thin, but it's delicious.

One day I'll adjust the all-purpose flour out of it, but for now, it's fantastic.

Monica, mom to Lilly (7) and Carter (4) and rainbow baby Elsa (11/27/10).
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