The GRIT community is filled with great cooks, some of whom blog for us at www.Grit.com. We’ve compiled a few of their recipes to give you a taste of the great bread they produce regularly.
Baking is a labor of love for many of your fellow Grit readers. And each and every one of them would encourage you to join their ranks: Baking bread is good for your health, pocketbook and soul.
A few tips for those who have not made bread or those who need help:
- Make sure your water isn’t so hot that it kills the yeast or too cool to activate it. Get yourself an instant-read thermometer, any good kitchen thermometer will do. The water should be between 105 degrees and 112 degrees when adding directly to the yeast.
- It’s best to use salt that does not contain iodine.
- When making bread, after a bit of experience, you will know how bread dough needs to feel. Adding too much flour may result in a loaf that is too dry, and the bread will be hard and crumbly. Adding too little flour will result in a loaf that will not hold its shape and will tear easily when sliced.
- There’s a big difference in the flour available. I’ve had success using all types of flour, though my favorite is Wheat Montana Prairie Gold, which may be available to most only through mail order. Bread flour is available in pretty much every store, and it works fine.
- Treat your recipe as a “guide.” It doesn’t have to be followed exactly! Once you have a recipe that has worked for someone you trust, keep working with that one recipe. Don’t jump from recipe to recipe. The first time you make your bread, it may not be the best, but pay close attention to everything you do. Next time you make it, if you want different results, try changing one thing. If you change several things at once, you won’t know what worked or what didn’t, so maybe try adding less or more flour, or kneading longer or not as long.
- Depending on the size of pan, the size of your oven, and whether or not your thermostat is exactly correct, you may need to adjust your baking time. What takes 30 minutes for me might take 25 or 35 for you.
- My favorite bread pans are the Norpro dimpled pans.
Bread making isn’t something that will work for one and not for another. If you want homemade bread, you can have it, but, like everything else, it may take a little practice and a bit of patience.