Easy Homemade Bread
This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread or you can make rolls and 1 loaf, or even all rolls. I like to make cinnamon rolls with it, but the picture is of cinnamon bread (which I will put a glaze on). I use half white flour and half whole wheat, but you could just use white if you like.
To this recipe you can also add flax seed, wheat berries (wheat grains that have been boiled and drained), bran or anything you like.
I am going to give the ingredients in the order they are added. For those of you not familiar with making a sponge first, that is what the first part of the recipe is. Making a sponge is a way to proof the yeast so that you don’t waste time and ingredients. Also, the sponge lets the yeast develop really well and gives the bread more flavor.
Easy Bread Recipe
2 cups warm (not hot) water (in large bowl)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons oil
1/4 cup honey (you can use sugar)
2 packages of yeast (or 2 Tablespoons)
Mix this well and cover with cloth. Leave until foamy (about 15-45 min.)
If the sponge hasn’t turned foamy by this time then the bread from it won’t rise.
Add 3 cups of flour ( or enough to make a soft to medium dough) to the sponge and mix well. Turn out on to floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes.
This kneading develops the gluten in the flour which holds the air bubbles in the dough, causing it to rise.
Put into a greased bowl (I just spray with Pam) to rise till about double in bulk. This can take 30 min. – 2 hours, depending on the altitude where you are, and the temperature in the kitchen.
After it has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a floured surface. Cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes. This is a very important step that is often overlooked, but it determines the texture of the bread.
Divide the dough into 2 portions and either make 2 loaves or use however you like.
To make a loaf, just roll out into a rectangle no wider than the loaf pan. Roll up the dough from one end and be sure to seal the edges and ends by pinching the dough together really well. This prevents the air bubbles from escaping during baking. To make a cinnamon loaf, just add cinnamon and sugar when the bread is rolled out, then roll up as for a regular loaf.
Let rise till about double. During this time I pre-heat the oven to 375′. Brush the tops of the loaves with a little egg white that has been mixed with a small amount of water. This makes the top crust shiny and chewy instead of crumbly. This rising also depends on where you are and how warm your kitchen is. We are at about 4700′ and the dough really rises fast.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out on wire racks to cool.