Adding delicious homemade bread to your family dinner is a lot easier than you think! A lot of people are leery of trying to make their own breads but they do not know what they are missing. Bread fresh from the oven is hard to beat.
As it bakes is makes the whole house smell simply delicious and teases your appetite. You can use a basic bread recipe and experiment with add ins to create desert breads, stuffed breads and other options.
A lot of people believe that you need a special bread making machine to make bread but you do not. It is a pretty simple process and there are plenty of ways to make it your own. For the most basic bread recipe you will need these ingredients:
- 1 pound bread flour and an extra ¼ cup to use in shaping
- 1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 10 ounces bottled or filtered water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 quarts hot water
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the rising container
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Follow these steps exactly:
Mix together 5 ounces of the flour, honey 1/4 teaspoon yeast, and the water in a container. You will need to let this container sit in the refrigerator for about 10 hours to let it rise. Once the dough has had time to ferment, activate the yeast (we call this proofing) you will move on to the next step.
Mix the remaining 11 ounces of flour, yeast, and all the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the proofed pre-ferment that you have in the refrigerator. Setup your stand mixer with the dough hook mix it all together for about 2 minutes until it all comes together. Next you let the dough take a rest for about 20 minutes. Next up you knead. As the dough kneads in the mixer, take ½ of the hot water and pour it into a pan that is shallow and put the pan with the water on the lowest rack in the over.
Next, you will oil the inside of a large container. You can use any type of oil to get the job done. Put the dough ball inside the oiled container and set aside for about an hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, it is time to get to work again. Use the extra flour to dust your hands and the counter top and dump the ball right on to the counter.
Next you start folding the ball into itself. Start from any side of the ball and fold it into itself. Fold all the sides in than cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest again. Leave it on the counter covered for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes has elapsed you will flatten the dough out with your hands and then fold the dough into itself. Flip the dough over and smooth the top of the dough. Roll the dough in a circular motion gently. Create a dough ball and you are going to place it on a cookie sheet or a pizza pan that has been sprinkled with corn meal.
It is critical that you do not use any sprays or oils on the pan or you will wind up with very hard crusted crispy bread. Next you will cover it with a kitchen towel (again) and let it proof for about an hour. The dough is ready when you can poke it without poking through it and it bounces right back!
Now here is the trick, take an oven proof plate and turn it upside down so that the bottom of the plate is facing up. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together 1/3 cup of water with cornstarch in a bowl and brush it on the dough. Cut a few slices in the top of the dough and slide the dough ball onto the plate in the oven.
Bake the bread for about 50 minutes. Use a thermometer to check the internal temp. Once the temperature has reached 210 degrees the bread is done. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes before cutting.
The first time will be the most difficult, but after a few tries you will have the steps down pat and it will become a lot easier.
You can take this basic recipe and make it your own by using different add in’s and toppings. Some of the things you can try include:
- Nuts or seeds sprinkled on top
- Cheese sprinkled on top
- Cheese on the inside
- Different types of bread flour like rye, wheat or even flax
- Garlic, rosemary and other spices
By experimenting you can come up with flavorful breads that will really complement your family meals.
Bread is delicious but bread that has been slathered with an amazing spread. You can use just plain honey and drizzle it over the bread or you can shake things up a little bit with this spread:
Hot Pepper Spread
Choose your favoritepepper sauce and mix it with a rich creamy butter! It is a simple addition that adds a bit of kick to your bread.
Take a few garlic cloves and roast them in the oven (in their husk) at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Let them cool, then squeeze the garlic from the husk and mix with butter. You get a great roasted garlic taste.
Rosemary Butter Spread
Use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and mix with 3 tablespoons of butter.
Making homemade bread and adding a touch of your personal flavor can be a great addition to any meal! Try it and it will become a family favorite.