Now that we have our equipment, we can move onto our ingredients. As with equipment, you don’t have buy a lot of expensive ingredients to make a good loaf of bread. All you need is flour, yeast, salt, and some kind of liquid. Everything else is nice but not necessary. Of course, if you continue to make bread you will want to explore the different ingredients that go into a loaf of bread, that is part of the fun of making bread.
The first ingredient you will need is flour. There are two kinds of flour typically called for in basic bread recipes. They ae all purpose flour and bread flour. When I first started making bread, I thought flour was flour. It didn’t matter which flour you used for what recipe. However, after much research and experimentation, I have found that that different flours have different characteristics. The different characteristics affect the final product. So if you want a quality end product, use the flour called for in the recipe.
The next ingredient we need is yeast. Yeast comes in two varieties, active dry and rapid rise. Unlike the flour, it doesn’t matter which one you use for your bread. Just remember active dry yeast needs to be soaked in some warm water, called proofing, to be sure it is alive. Rapid rise yeast can go directly into the dry ingredients. I generally start all my bread by proofing my yeast no matter which on I use.
Both kinds of yeast come in packets and jars. I would use packets until you have made a few loaves and see if you want to continue making bread. Make sure, no matter what kind of yeast you use to check the expiration date on the package. Yeast is a living organism so it will die over time. You want the freshest yeast possible.
The next ingredient is salt. I use kosher salt for all my cooking but if you don’t have kosher salt regular table salt can be used. Just remember to use half as much table salt as you would kosher salt
The final ingredient in bread is some kind of liquid. The liquid can be fruit juice, milk, beer, or even plain water. The most important thing. Is to use a liquid you would enjoy drinking straight out of the faucet or bottle. If it isn’t s something you would enjoy drinking it isn’t something you would enjoy in your bread.
That is it. Four simple ingredients and you can make a wide variety of delicious breads in your own home. My next bread post will be a step by step tutorial on making our first loaf of white bread.