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Started by Xepher, February 11, 2010, 10:17:58 AM

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So, I've recently decided to try my hand at baking. I know it's not the manliest of pursuits, but I love EATING baked goods, and I also love the DIY ethic, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I had a few mediocre successes -- bread that was decent, but really kinda plain -- but yesterday I finished something that's positively addicting. I mean it... I've been having to literally force myself out of the kitchen to keep from just chomping the entire loaf in one go. It's a sweet, white bread, perfect with butter. It also happens to be really easy to make. As such, I'm going to outline it here, in case anyone else wants to try it.


2 cups warm water
3/4 cup white sugar
1.5 tablespoons dry yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour

Notes: Sugar can be slightly less if you want, and salt could probably tend slightly more. Bread flour is not QUITE the same as "all purpose" flour. It has more gluten/protein in it. It tends to make better bread, and only costs a few cents more, but you can make do with whatever you have in a pinch, though you may need slightly more of it.


1. Put the water in a big mixing bowl (from your power mixer if you have one, if not, biggest bowl you have) and mix in the sugar. We need it to be about 110° F after that, so microwave it if it's not warm enough. If you don't have a thermometer, it needs to feel hot to the touch, but not actually "burning". Think "The hottest hot tub" you can stand.
2. Add the yeast to the sugar water, by sprinkling it evenly over the surface of the water. Go play smash bros. for 15 minutes or so.
3. The yeast should make a brown foam about an inch thick that cover the entire surface of the water. If it does, you're good to go. If not, start over, and buy new yeast.
4. Add the oil to the sugar water.
5. If possible, mix the salt into the first cup or two of flour. You don't want to add it directly to the yeast/water, or it'll kill it off. If you're feeling lucky, just mix it in a bit at a time as you add the flour.
6. Add the flour a cup at a time or so, and stir it in evenly. It'll tend to clump, so you just keep stirring.
7. Eventually, it's gonna get really thick and paste-like. It'll pull away from the sides of the bowl and seem slighly lumpy. If you've got 5 cups or more in, it may be time to use your hands (my spoon was bending at this point.)
8. Mix in the final flour with your hands, kneading the dough and using the main ball of it to scrape the dry flour from the sides of the bowl.
9. When you get down to only a few spoons of flour left, find a clean surface (dough sheet ideally, or really clean/dry countertop) and sprinkle the flour on it.
10. Knead the dough for at least five minutes. This means smash it flat/away from you with your palms, fold it over, rotate it a bit, and smash it again. Repeat that a lot. You can add slightly more flour dust to keep things from sticking.
11. After five minutes or so, and when the dough seems evenly smooth, stop. Clean/dry the bowl, then oil it. That means spray it with pam or something, or rub with vegetable oil. Ball up the dough into a smooth, round shape and set it in the bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap, or, at least, a wet towel. Put it someplace warm-ish.
12. Give it an hour. It should double in size or so. If you have a plastic bowl and your house is around 70°f, great. If it's colder, or metal, it may take longer.
13. Flour your surface again, and dump the dough out. Put some oil on a sharp knife and cut it in half. Knead each half just a bit more (to get rid of the "cut" edge) and flatten into a rectangle about the size of a 9x5 bread pan. Fold the ends over, and fold the rectangle in half. Pinch the seam together and roll it a bit. You're making a lump slightly shorter and narrower than the pan. Oil the pan, and set the loaf in the center of it, seam side down. Do that for both loaves.
14. Cover the loaves with more plastic or wet towel, and let them rise another 30-45 minutes. They should rise about an inch above the top of 9x5 bread pans.
15. At this point, it's baking time. Preheat to 350°f (or 325°f in a convection oven) and put 'em about 2/3 of the way down. Make sure there's several inches of clearance on top (raise/remove the top rack) as the bread really rises high.
16. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Keep an eye on the top color. It should be brown but not burned.
17. Pull the loaves out, and immediately turn/dump them out of the pans and let them cool in the open so they don't get soggy.

To eat, cut a nice slide, and slather it in real, salted butter. It's absolutely delicious. After the bread cools for an hour or so, stick it in a plastic bag (simple grocery sacks work great) and leave it at room temp. Later, you can slice it easy, add some fridge-temp slice, and just microwave for 30 seconds (and spread the butter) to get that same fresh-from-the-oven taste.

Next time, I'm gonna try using butter instead of oil, for both the recipe and for the pans, as well as brush on some butter when they come out of the oven. It would be nice to get a little bit of that baked in, so you don't need as much added later. If anyone tries this, lemme know, I'm curious how it works for other people.


That sounds totally delicious! I'm not ready to move onto bread - I really messed up my first trial on making banana bread last month. But I have been trying to perfect my own recipes of sugar, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies. Plus everybody uses me cus I'm the only one in my building (or my company) with a full size oven. It's obviously not a common thing to have an oven in a Korean household.

I've also perfected the delicate flakiness of a pot pie crust. I didn't think it was that hard!
"Watch it Jeff, she's packing ovaries!" - Patrick, Coupling


Let me first preface this by saying IANAB, but as a bread consumer, I'll pass on two bread making tips.

My father-in-law was a professional, industrial baker for most of his life (he probably did several million loaves of wonder bread), so when he decided to bake a few loaves for the farmer's markets he made bread using high-gluten wheat like Xepher said.  Once he got the proportions right for the recipe, he switched production to a set of bread makers, using his recipe. They seemed to make no difference in the flavor, but with much less effort.  (bread while you sleep, what a concept!)

The second on is a banana bread recipe.  Take premade banana bread mix, and substitute mashed bananas for both the margarine and the oil.  Tastes great; and good for you.


I have to try that. It looks tasty :3~~~

I bet it isn't the healthiest though XD