Grit Blogs > Journey To A Life Of Our Own

Bread Making Accomplished

By Tricia Millix

Tags: bread, cooking, baking,

A photo of Tricia MillixI have longed for years to master the art of making bread. Like gardening it has eluded me for quite some time. I have tried numerous times to no avail. It has always seemed to make me so nervous, how to get the yeast to “bloom,” what is luke-warm water anyways, how and for how long to knead the dough, has it really doubled in size??? The questions would send my nerves into a tizzy and that is why I think I just couldn’t do it – or so I thought! I have found a recipe that has given me the courage to try again, and at last SUCCESS!

I followed the direction to a tee, using exact measurements and preciously timing my every move. I watched in amazement as my dough rose perfectly, filling the pans that held it. When the final timer signaled that the bread had completed its baking time, I cautiously opened the oven door and what to my wondering eyes should appear but two loves of perfect bread. Had I really accomplished this feat, had “I” really conquered this thing they call bread making? Indeed I had.

I had to make sure that this was not just a fluke thing, that I could actually do it again. So began the process and timing again, and the end result matched my previous success, and I have to say it was the best bread I have tasted.

I think the reason it was so tasty is because I had finally made bread that both my parents are masters at making. My mother can whip up loaves of bread without a recipe, only by look and feel. She has spent many, many nights trying to teach me. The bread was okay, but nothing like hers. I can vividly remember my father mixing up bread in a huge yellow earthenware bowl that had a blue stripe around it with the biggest wooden spoon I have ever seen. He always made the process look effortless, which it is not, it takes some strength to stir that last cup of flour in and then the kneading process is a whole new set of muscles. The smell would reach us kids all the way out in the fields and it always stopped us in our tracks. We knew what was in store for dinner and we could not wait.

I became adventurous and added some dried basil and used olive oil.

So on this journey I have begun, I can now cross Bread Making off of the list. I am by no means a master, but I can most certainly put a warm loaf of bread on our dinner table. I will share the recipe because it is just too good to keep to myself!

Sixty Minute Bread

2 cups of luke-warm water
4 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 - 51/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place water, sugar and yeast together in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir oil and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour by 1/2 cup full until the dough forms a ball. Turn out on a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. (I actually do this in my stand mixer.) Divide the dough in half and place into greased loaf pans, set aside to rise for 30-40 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool, and then ENJOY!!

I hope everyone who tries this recipe has the same success I have had, because there is nothing like a piece of homemade bread.

7/13/2009 7:59:24 PM

Stump- I am so happy to be making bread and my family is actually begging me for more! What a feeling of accomplishment! I loved this recipe because it only takes 60 minutes and I can add so many different things to it. Enjoy and please let me know how you like it. Thanks- Tricia

7/13/2009 10:08:42 AM

Like you I have bread making under my belt for the year. It's really easy once you get fears out of the way. My husband now asks every week, Are you making bread today? It must have turned out pretty good. Thanks for sharing your recipe, I'm trying it today.

7/2/2009 10:28:57 AM

Dave- I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this task!! I shouldn't call it a task because I am so happy to do it; a great sense of accomplishment. My children start asking the second I tell them I am making bread if it is done yet! They love it when I make fresh butter, they help of course. They always say it is sooo sweet. Honey and cottage cheese - hmmm, that almost sounds like a really good breakfast all rolled into one yummy piece of bread! I also tried the bread machine, you are right it is better than store bought but it almost has that fake, kinda look to it. It is just a "block" of bread sitting there! The work of making bread is a stress reliever and I feel more connection to what I am doing instead of just being a bystander while the machine is making my bread! I love the way every loaf has its own personality when it is made from scratch. I am going to try the recipe in Mother Earth for "Fresh Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day", it looks very yummy and easy! I'll let you know when I finally get around to making it! "Bread is the warmest, kindest of all words. Write it always with a capital letter, like your own name." Regards- Tricia

nebraska dave
6/29/2009 10:16:11 PM

Tricia, I do like the smell of freshly baked bread. At one time when a family of five lived in the house I baked bread regularly. I always had to bake five loaves of bread as the family huddled around the oven with knife in hand ready to lather on the butter to melt into the hot bread. Two loaves would disappear almost immediately. I’ll have to find that old recipe and see if I can resurrect the old bread making skills. My recipe had honey and cottage cheese in it. I used the honey measuring spoon to soak in the luke warm water with the yeast. By the time I mixed the dough to pour in the yeast it was practically crawling out of the cup. Anyone that makes bread has a special bread dough bowl just for that occasion like your parents had. Mine was a big Tupperware bowl that would hold just the right amount of raised bread dough for five loaves of bread. After all the ingredients were mixed, I would run warm water in one side of the double kitchen sink and set the bread dough bowl in the warm water. I then would cover the bowl and sink with a dish towel to keep the warmth in. In about 30 minutes the dough would have raised to double the size at which time I would punch down the dough and put it into bread pans. The dough would rise again to double and in the oven they went for I think it was about 30 to 40 minutes. It was always a hit and it made the best toast. I tried the bread machine route, but it’s just not the same in my humble opinion. It is better than store bought bread and definitely much easier but there’s just something about punching and kneading that relieves the stress of life. If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a flower. – Chinese Proverb