Overwhelmed by the thought of making your own bread?
It's SO much easier than you might think! I've got to give credit where credit is due though...My first experience with yeast bread is from my Grannie and then my mom. The same yeast rolls every time a big meal rolled around - big, lusty, eggy yeast rolls...yum! Then, my SIL Kjerstin made these TO DIE for rolls with lots and lots of BUTTER...YUM! Then my dear friend Amy posted this. I was done. I had to try it.
So I ruled out Grannie and Kjerstin's rolls for daily bread making because of the butter and the eggs. I needed something that didn't take attention. I also needed something I could throw in the fridge and pull out when needed. I basically followed Amy's recipe, in half, with some sugar to give the yeast something to "feed" on and make the rolls even yeastier. (Is that a word?)
So anyway...here goes...it is so easy you'll cry..in joy...
The Classic Yeast Bread Measurements:Remember: 6-3-3-13 or in half 3 - 1.5 - 1.5 - 1.5 - 6.5
Get a big bowl and put in 3 cups of quite warm water. I think of it as warm enough to get the yeast working, but not burn them. I'm not sure if that is scientifically accurate...but it works!
Add 1.5 Tablespoons of kosher salt. Do you have kosher salt? You should. It is not that much more expensive than the garden variety salt. In fact, the box is so big, the price might be equal. Anyway, it is cut into these bigger chunks and the burst of flavor on food is amazing. Your food tastes more like your food, less like salt. It's yummy. It's in a navy blue box on the bottom shelf usually.
Add 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast.
If you are buying yeast in the little packets, please stop. You can buy yeast in a big bag for about $4. I think it might be worth a Costco membership just for the saving on a bulk bag of yeast if you are going to be making your own bread. The bag looks like this:
So to review...3 cups warm water (don't burn the yeasties!), 1.5 T salt and 1.5 T yeast. Are you with me? Now sprinkle in a little sugar to give the yeast a treat! Your rolls won't taste sweet, but they will be loftier and taste "yeastier" (still not sure if that is a word??)
Now, give it a little stir and go do something else for 10 minutes. For me, I usually put the coffee on and empty/fill the dishwasher. That is usually enough time to activate the yeast.
THEN...add flour. 6.5 cups of it.
Big white fluffy flour works. As does whole wheat. Beware though; your husband might notice and refuse to eat them because they taste too "healthy", so be stealthy and add something like this is small quantities.
By the way, I made that photo of the flour a heaping cup on purpose. You should follow the exact instructions to start, but eventually you get a feel for how much flour goes in, so you can wing it a little. I usually add 6 heaping cups and forget the .5 at the end. the little things, right?
After you add the flour (carefully so you don't have flour everywhere), use a big wooden spoon and FOLD the flour into the dough. You don't want to work it too much...just incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients. Once it is fairly well mixed, dust your hands in flour and finish molding a big mound of dough. PS...this is totally the best part. Molding warm, yeasty smelling dough by hand is like playdough for adults...so comforting...Sometimes I make bread just for this part. Don't mix too much! It will look like this!
Leave it alone in a warm spot (kitchen counter) for 2-3 hours until is rises. Remold it and then either shape it to bake or throw it in the fridge for up to 3 days to use later. This post is getting mad long, so I am stopping here, but will post the shaping part later if you are a visual type. Basically though, flour your hands and roll the dough loosely into the shape you want. I use a pizza stone dusted with cornmeal for bread and a glass pan for biscuits. Once you get the hang of the basic dough, you can make a million different variations. Well, perhaps not a million, but you get the point. Add honey instead of sugar. Throw in fresh dill from the garden. Brush the top with egg if you want. Dust it with cinnamon sugar. Make cinnamon rolls. The list goes on and on. Have fun! Enjoy!
For those who want the simple recipe:
6 cups warm water
3 T yeast
3 T salt
Mix and let sit for 10 minutes.
Add 13 cups flour.
Mix and let rise 2-3 hours.
Deflate dough with wooden spoon.
Shape dough into biscuits of a loaf. USE EXTRA flour on your hands to avoid sticking and make sure you spray the pan before adding the dough. Flouring the pan as well helps to keep the rolls from sticking.
|Shaped Biscuits - Use lots of flour on your hands!|
After the shaping into biscuits of a loaf, there is a second rising, but it is fairly short 15-30 minutes.
...and I forgot to mention these biscuits are best served with this...