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One of Life's Simple Pleasures: Homemade Bread

One day a few years ago, I wanted to see if my culinary skills were advanced enough to make homemade bread. I thought it was something I ought to do, figuring it was part of my pioneer heritage. When I think of my ancestors, for whatever reason, I imagine the women patiently kneading bread in sun-filled kitchens. And, with a recipe called “Easy Homemade Bread,” how could I go wrong?

After enough swearing to make me feel guilty about teaching my Young Women about the importance of being good examples a few weeks earlier, I put the dough out to rise. Now, I only make bread by letting my handy Kitchen Aid mixer do the initial kneading. I think my ancestors would be jealous.

So, I’ve added notes to a pretty standard bread recipe that I hope might make another first-timer’s attempt a little easier. Because really, is there anything better than warm homemade bread with butter melting on the top?

Easy homemade bread

1 package or 2 ½ t yeast
2 cups warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
5 cups all-purpose flour (usually requires more—I’ve used up to 6 ½ cups)
1 T salt
1 T sugar
5 T melted unsalted butter or any vegetable oil.

Mix warm water and yeast and set aside. Put flour, salt, and sugar in mixing bowl to mix dry ingredients. Then, add butter and yeast/water mixture. (I do this in a Kitchen Aid mixer—doing it by hand is a pain!) I mix until just combined in the mix master. Add more flour to a working surface and knead in enough flour so dough doesn’t stick to your hands (although a little will probably still stick on your hands

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl with plastic wrap covering it. Let rise for approximately 1 hour.

Take dough and knead out air on floured surface (may need to add a little more flour, but not much). Divide dough and shape into two loaves. Place each loaf in an 8 or 9 inch greased bread pan. Let rise for another hour.

Pre heat oven to 425 and put in bread. Usually cooks in about 30 minutes (but check periodically).

Let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

EmilyCC

EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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6 Responses

  1. harijans says:

    Mmm Bread.

    *wonders if Emily made some today just to make sure the recipe still works.

    This really is a fantastic recipe. I remember my mom grinding her own wheat to make homemade bread. Don’t tell my mom, but this is easier, and taste real good.

    *wonders if there is chicken salad to go with the bread Emily made.

  2. AmyB says:

    I grew up with homemade bread always readily available. Baking bread was a weekly ritual of my mother’s. I loved watching the wheat kernels go down the little hole in the grinder, and especially loved fresh-out-of-the-oven bread with butter and honey. Yum.

    When I got married, I asked for a wheat grinder as the group gift from my mom’s side of the family. I don’t use it that much, but it makes me happy to have it. It’s a connection with my childhood and warm, happy memories.

  3. Deborah says:

    My mom made great bread. I loved the kneeding — and wondered at the biceps of my grandma who made several loaves a day to feed farm hands. I never mastered it myself, felt vaguely guilty about it for years, then married a man whose allergic to wheat. All is well.

  4. EmilyCC says:

    Amy and Deborah, I’m so impressed that you grew up with homemade bread! The closest thing we had came from a bread machine when I was a senior in high school. Yet, it’s funny how despite not having it much growing up, I still associate the smell of homemade bread with being home, safe and warm.

  5. JulieB says:

    Hi, I tried this recipe today and it didn’t rise. Do you think it could be because I used rapidrise yeast or perhaps because it is cool in our house today. I tried finding a warm sport for it but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions?

    • Ashley says:

      You need to be sure to proof your yeast before you mix it all together… add a little warm water, not too warm or cold as it will kill yeast…. add a little sugar to the water and sprinkle yeast on top… let sit for approx. 5-10 minutes until bubbly…. then you can add it to remaining ingredients…. hope this helps.

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