Back when… I was a bread baker at our local country store. They taught me how to make bread and I’ve been making a lot of my own bread ever since.
But after much practice at home, this is my favorite bread recipe!
I’ve been using active dry yeast and it’s worked the best for us in our bread recipes.
One of the tricks to making bread is letting the yeast water get foamy and it usually takes 5-15 minutes after you’ve whisked it together.
Lukewarm water is like your bath water, you don’t want to add too hot of water to your yeast because it will kill it. Yeast is a live bacteria and helps your bread rise.
When your water gets foamy, it should look like this. If it doesn’t look like this (picture on left), your yeast went bad and it’s not going to work. Always store your active dry yeast in a cool place. I keep mine in the fridge.
I like using an electric mixer, but you don’t have too. Using a spoon to incorporate, then kneading with your hands is originally how it’s done.
So here (picture on right), I’ve already added my sugar to the yeast water. I prefer to mix my oil and egg together and then add it. I will whisk all of these beginning ingredients together. When I begin incorporating the flour, I switch to my dough hook and my electric blender, and I let that do all the heavy lifting.
I prefer to use an electric mixer when it comes to fully incorporating the flour to my dough mix, most of the kneading process which will generally take about 5-7 minutes. I use my KitchenAid Classic with the dough hook attachment, and (as a personal review) it will handle the firmness of the kneading process nicely. I’ve used this for three years and continue to use it.
I’ll add the flour slowly while having the mixer set on low. It’ll take about 3 cups of flour to just get the dough firm enough to remove from the bowl and to knead by hand.
Place the dough on a clean, floured surface. While kneading the dough, add a little bit of flour from your floured surface until your dough is no longer sticking to your hands and has a smooth satin texture. Once that’s achieved, shape into a nice round ball and place in a large glass bowl that provides enough room for the dough to rise at least twice in size.
You’ll want to cover with a damp cheese cloth/ dish towel to keep in moisture because for the best rise, you need warm humidity for the yeast to do it’s job. I’ve noticed some bakers will also recommend oiling the surface and covering with plastic wrap.
Now, I don’t own a proofer. But I can still get a great rise by preheating my oven for about 2 minutes to get it nice and warm, shutting it off (very important to shut it off) and placing the covered bread dough in the warm oven. I’ll leave it in there for about 2 hours for the first rise. I’ll time the 2nd bread rise for about another hour. But, before I get ahead of myself..
Taking the bread out after the first rise, you’ll want to pull the dough from the edges of the bowl with your hand, scooping sides towards the middle. take dough out of the bowl and shape it to size according to your loaf pan. Roll it out and pinch the ends. Set into your greased loaf pan.
I will brush oil on the surface of my bread dough at this point, and set in the oven for the second rise, uncovered.
Once your bread dough loaf rises about 1/2 and inch from the top of the loaf pan (check on it at 45 minutes) leave in the oven while your oven preheats to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s preheated to 400 degrees, set timer for 20 minutes. So your bread should of ended up baking for a total of about 30 minutes.
I like my crust kind of crunchy and browner than other breads. But, if you find it’s getting browner than you want it, cover with foil for the remaining amount of time. Or you can check the internal temperature of your baked bread, you’ll want it to be at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important to remove the bread from the loaf pan after it’s been taken out of the oven or it might hold it’s moisture in the bottom and get soggy… Learned that the hard way. Place your hot loaf onto a wire rack for the best exposure for cooling.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving. Wrap in plastic wrap or in a airtight bag between eating because home made bread will dry out quicker than your store bought bread. It’ll be best if eaten within 3-5 days and I prefer to store it at room temperature.
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do and best of luck as you venture into/ continue your breadmaking!
Soft Homemade Bread
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp 100% olive oil
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, add the water and yeast. Whisk together and let sit for about 15 mins. Let the yeast water get nice and foamy.
- Add the sugar to the yeast water, whisk to combine.
- Mix together egg and oil in a small bowl. Then, add to yeast water mixture. Whisk to combine.
- Place bowl under your kitchen aid electric mixer and attach your dough hook. Mix on a lower setting. We don't want flour flying out of the bowl.
- Slowly incorporate 3 cups of flour into the mixing bowl. Set aside the remaining 3/4 cups of flour.
- When you've added enough flour it should be lightly sticky and pulling from the sides of the bowl, sticking around your dough hook. With the 3/4 cup flour you set aside, flour a clean surface for kneading and place dough on the floured surface.
- Knead your bread dough, adding a little flour while kneading until it has a non-sticky, satin feel. Not so much flour it falls apart. It should stop sticking to your fingers when it's at this point.
- Shape your dough into a nice round ball.
- Grease a large glass bowl and place your bread dough ball inside, and cover with a damp towel.
- Place bowl in a warm area for the next couple hours and let the dough rise double in size.
- Once it's doubled in size, use your fingers to pull the dough away from the edges and out of the bowl onto floured surface.
- Roll and shape into a rectangular loaf (about the size of your pan) and pinch the ends. Place into a greased loaf pan. Rub the surface of the dough with a little olive oil and let it rest (uncovered) in a warm area for about another hour or until the dough rises about a 1/2 inch from the top rim of the loaf pan.
- Place loaf pan into the oven, preheat the oven to 400°F (while bread pan is in the oven).
- After the oven is preheated, set a timer for 20 mins. The temperature of your bread should be at least 190°F when done.
- Immediately transfer bread from your loaf pan to a wire rack for cooling. Wait for your bread to be completely cooled before cutting.