I learned to make bread from my mother in law. She told me to get your hands in it, make a mess…she taught me to feel it. She also measured everything by sight (water depth in the bowl) and by hand fulls(salt), 5-7 loaves at a time was how she rolled. Adjusting to measurements and only 2 loaves took a trial and error stage. I am past that now.
Basic White Bread
- 5 tsp yeast (2 pkg)
- 3 TBSP sugar(can use honey)
- 2 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 TBSP lard or shortening(I use tallow, melted)
- 1 TBSP salt
- 6 1/2 cup flour
In a large bowl add water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes.
Measure your flour, stir in the salt for even distribution. I add the melted fat into the yeast, then 2 cups of flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep adding flour and mixing until it is thick enough to turn out on a floured surface to knead. Dump the dough and any remaining flour onto a board and start kneading.
Knead for 8 minutes; serious folding over and squishing down, spin and repeat. Keep just enough flour under it to keep it from sticking, you want it to end up smooth and elastic not tough and coated in flour. When the 8 minutes are over form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl. Flip the ball once to coat with oil(olive oil is what I use). Cover the bowl with a clean,damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm spot for about an hour, until doubled in size. If you have a warm rad to set it on, even better.
When it has doubled in size dump it on the board again and cut into 4 equal pieces. Gently tuck each piece into a neat ball, put 2 pieces per greased loaf pan, cover again and let rise about 40 minutes. The size it gets to is about the size your loaf will be.
Bake in a 375 oven for about 30 minutes. It should sound hollow when you knock on top of the loaf and be a golden brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack and immediately baste the top of each loaf with butter to keep the top crust softer. I rub a stick of butter over the top, it’s simple.
Slice and enjoy.
I like making each loaf in two pieces, it’s easier to break apart and freeze 1/2 a loaf that way.
If you want dinner rolls, just make smaller balls and tuck them in tightly together in a pan.
I have tried this in a kitchen aid mixer with a dough hook and did not like the results, too airy with holes inside…good old fashioned effort works best for me. I need to feel it.