An Introduction to Making Your Own Bread

I have been making my own bread by hand for several years. I think learning to bake your own bread is one of the most important kitchen skills you can ever learn. However, because it isn’t small batch and it is one of the few things I don’t think are worth adapting to small batches, I wasn’t going to post my favorite bread recipes to this blog.

However, last night, two things changed my mind. The first was a post where the poster went on and on about how hard it is to make bread and how long it takes. The next post by a different poster, made the statement “if you aren’t going to use your bread machine often, you are probably better off buying your bread”. If I had read these posts and had never made bread, I probably wouldn’t even think about giving it a try now.

I won’t deny that making bread takes time. Some recipes can take days to make starters, for long rises and the like. The vast majority of recipes I have found only take a couple of hours from start to finish and even that time can be manipulated to fit into your schedule.

I will deny that you need any expensive or fancy equipment to make bread. Human beings have been making bread for thousands of years longer than the bread machine has been around. It is quite possible to make a delicious loaf of bread with nothing more than your bare hands. I know this because I have been doing it for years.

I started baking bread because someone told me I couldn’t bake decent bread in my own kitchen. I keep baking my own bread because there is something very satisfying about creating something with my own two hands. The time it takes to slow down and make bread has become a peaceful, stress free time in an otherwise hectic week of work and in my personal life. I hope you will try baking your own bread just once. If you do I think you will like it.

Over the next few months, I will post recipes and other information I have learned about making bread. The first bread recipe I am going to give you is for Baker’s Dozen Yeast rolls from A Taste of Home Magazine. I think this recipe is a good example of how you don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time to produce bread.

Baker's Dozen Yeast Rolls


Ingredients
2 to 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
2 ¼ tsp rapid rise yeast
½ tsp salt
¾ cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 TBS, melted
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add water and 2 tablespoons butter; beat on medium speed 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place 10 minutes. Divide into 13 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 9 inch round baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool. 13 rolls

From A Taste of Home Magazine

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