Free Tips & Easy "How to" Instructions
There may be no more wonderful aroma in this world than the scent of baking bread. With more and more people abandoning the kitchen for microwave cooking or simply eating out all the time, the fine art of baking bread at home is in danger of disappearing forever. The good news is that baking your own bread isn't difficult, but it does make a bit of a mess and you do have to be patient, something most folks aren't these days. Follow the instructions below and you will fill your home with the mouth-watering scent of freshly baked bread, but be warned, this scent has been known to attract visitors like you are giving away money.
First, you need all of the right ingredients: a packet of yeast, hot water, flour, sugar, salt, oil, and three bread pans.
You start by bringing those wonderful yeast cultures to life. Mix up the hot water (2 cups) and the flour (2 cups) and then add in 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of yeast, and then 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix gently and then let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. You need to give the yeast time to do its thing. You will notice that your mixture is ready to go when small bubbles begin to appear in your bowl.
This is where things get a bit messy. Begin to add the rest of your flour bit by bit (3 more cups) but you can't really add it in the bowl because it is far too dense to mix by this point. Flip your bowl over on to the counter and begin kneading the dough with your hands. Obviously, you want to make sure that your hands are nice and clean before you start this step. Continue kneading the dough until all of the flour is mixed in (usually about 10 minutes).
Now for the easy part. Place the dough back into a bowl or pan and simply let it rise for the next 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you place the dough somewhere warm, but not on top of the stove. If the temperature is too high, it kills the yeast dead and you'll be left with a wrecked kitchen and some blob-like creature that might up end devouring Cleveland.
Divide up the dough and place it inside the three pans specified above. You may have to fight the dough quite a bit to break it up. (This is why most people who work in bakeries have strong hands and arms!) Once you have the dough in the pans, let it sit and rise a bit more until the dough is even with the top of the pan you are cooking it in.
You will need a 350°F (180°C) oven preheated for your bread pans. Bake them for 25 minutes and you are done, although by this point you likely have more company than you can handle. Slice, enjoy and remember to wrap up your bread once you cut it since homemade bread doesn't have the same kind of preservatives that store-bought bread does, so it gets stale faster.
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