Getting all the ingredients together for baking bread!
Here’s a guilty admission of mine. I know – “thou shall not covet,” but covet I did!! I always wanted a KitchenAid mixer, as I love to bake. Every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would dream about getting this high-speed equipment. So, I took the plunge, ordered it and viola! My long-awaited, much-anticipated mixer arrived yesterday! I spent the evening reading the manual (okay, you know I am excited when I read tech manuals!), washed it, and checked the bowl settings so I could use it today. A combo birthday/business investment, as I am wanting to write more about foods and baking, and compile a recipe book.
The performance expectation level I had was pretty high – especially for baking bread.
New KitchenAid Mixer!
As long as I have wanted this mixer, I was a little hesitant to use it. I mean, I don’t want to get it all dirty. Haha! The performance expectation level was pretty high – especially for baking bread. Would it live up to all I imagined? Everyone I know who has this mixer loves it. I just had to try it out today! I wondered, “What should I make?” We still have way too many Christmas cookies to justify baking another batch. Plus, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that dough hook!
So, I decided on baking bread.
A wise choice. I wish someone would develop a plug-in app, allowing the aroma of fresh-baked bread to drift through cyberspace, coming through every PC, laptop and device…That would drive my readership up! But I digress.
Fresh from the oven!
Well, the KitchenAid Mixer worked like a dream! It was by far the easiest bread baking day I have ever had. I Googled a very simple bread recipe, “Basic Homemade Bread,” found on TasteofHome.com (recipe in the link and pasted below). Everything went into the big bowl, and clean-up was a breeze. I wanted to start out with something fairly easy until I got used to the mixer, but honestly, the learning curve time was not a concern.
So, with this under my belt, I can try other new and great things! Stay tuned! In the mean time, I have a photo-show of the bread-making process. If you have never tried it before, seriously, you must. Yeast breads sound very intimidating, but they aren’t. Just make sure you follow the directions and measure carefully. Whether you have a big, high-speed mixer or not, give it a shot, and tell me about your experience in the comment section!
Photo steps – recipe below!
Mixing it up!
Mix water and yeast. Add sugar, salt, oil, and about half the flour. Blend well with dough hook. Shut off mixer to scrape sides of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour – about a cup at a time. Mix well.
Blob of dough
Turn dough onto floured surface. Kneed until smooth. If using the dough hook, you will only do this about a minute or two. If by hand, kneed longer (8-10 minutes).
Smooth surface before first rise
The dough should look smooth like this.
Ready to rise
Place into a greased bowl. Turn (so top is greased); cover and let rise until double.
Neat trick! Add a bowl of hot water to help dough raise faster.
My trick: Place dough in oven (do not turn oven on!!!), turn on oven light and place a bowl of hot water in to help the dough rise.
Success! Time for bread baking!
It should double – like this!
Punch down the dough
Dump dough out of bowl; “punch” down and let rest a minute.
Let rise in pan
Divide dough; and place in greased baking pans. Let rise until double.
Ready to bake!
Like this! Bake in a preheated oven (375 degrees) for 30-40 minutes.
Bread is done!
Remove from pans. Cool. Slice and enjoy!
Basic Homemade Bread Recipe
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
- Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Originally published as Homemade Bread in The Taste of Home Cookbook 2006, p452