Looking for a recipe for baking bread that works? I have one that is a great base for five great recipes! Here is the basic recipe, start with this, and I will share with you all five variations in the coming months!
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my posts about the great results I had with making bread. I have been learning how to bake bread for a few years now, and I have a recipe that really works. Let me share with you this recipe, and how I make it!
Alexandra’s Basic Bread Recipe
This is a very versatile recipe and you can make five delicious variations.
- 2 packages of dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 cup of warm milk
- 3 tbsp of white sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3 tbsp of butter
- 5 cups of all purpose flour
- Egg Glaze: 1 egg white beaten with 1 tbsp of water
(please note, while making this bread this last time I was unable to take photos of the whole process, so I hope to update this in the future, with step by step photos for you!)
Proving Your Yeast:
- Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup of warm water. I like to use a fork and whisk to combine the yeast and water. I find doing this, really helps the yeast foam up.
- Next, heat your 1 cup of milk, I measure it out and heat it in the microwave.
Making Your Dough:
- In a bowl, add your sugar and butter. Pour in your warm milk, and using a whisk, mix until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in your yeast, and slowly add in 3 cups of flour. I use a whisk to mix it until smooth, and then you want to beat this for 5 minutes. Again, I do this all by hand, and my whisk works really nicely, but once you add more than 3 cups, you will need to switch to a spatula, as you continue to add in your flour and mix in the rest of the flour. You are looking for a soft dough. And it will be soft.
- At about 4 cups of flour mixed in, I will turn out my dough onto a clean work surface and begin to knead in the rest of the flour. This is the time when you need to continue to knead your dough for as long as you can.
How to Knead Your Dough:
Shape the dough into a round ball and place on the floured surface. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion. Fold it towards you, then turn the dough one quarter turn around. Continue the sequence of pushing, folding and turning, making a rhythmic motion. Repeat until the dough is smooth, satiny, elastic and no longer sticky, adding more flour when necessary. Allow at least 10 minutes for kneading hand-mixed doughs. The necessary kneading time is reduced if you use a heavy-duty electric mixer.
To test if the dough is kneaded enough, make an indentation with your finger. The dough will spring back when it is kneaded enough. Ample needing creates bread with a springy texture and maximum volume. Extra kneading does not harm the dough but enhances it.
Let Your Dough Rest:
- Once you have a smooth, non-sticky dough, you are ready to oil a clean bowl and place your dough inside, flipping it over gently allowing it to become coated. You can also warm up some butter in hands, and rub it gently on top of your dough.
- Cover with a kitchen towel, and set in a warm area, allowing it to rise about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size. I like to keep my oven on, and set it close to the oven, I find it helps with rising every time.
When Your Dough Has Doubled:
- Prepare a clean surface, and punch down your dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface (if using a board, place down a damp tea towel underneath it to keep it secure) and knead gently for a minute or two to remove air bubbles.
Divide Your Dough
- Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into equal halves, and shape into, balls, and then into loaves. I like to roll them into logs, and then slightly round the ends.
- Place them into basic loaf pans, and cover with a tea towel, again in a warm place, for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Prepare a simple egg wash by beating 1 egg and 1 TBSP of water.
- Once your dough has risen again and is ready to bake, brush the tops with your egg glaze.
Baking Your Bread
Preheat your oven to 375F and bake your bread for 40-45 minutes, (mine were in for 40 minutes) or until brown and the loaves sound hollow when thumped. Allow to cool on a rack, and use a knife to cut along the edges before turning out.
Enjoy your bread with butter, and serve with a warm bowl of soup or use the next day to make Cinnamon French Toast for breakfast!
My kids really loved this bread, and I think that may just be one of the greatest feelings in the world. Making your own bread, by hand is a fun thing, and does take time and patience. My first few batches didn’t turn out great, but I have kept trying over the years, and have found a rhythm with it.
Stay tuned for the next variation of this recipe!
If you enjoyed this recipe and gave it a try at home, please share it, and tag me @alexandra.derry! I would love to see how it turned out. If you have any questions, please comment below 🙂
Til next time,
Breathe deeply, and enjoy building your masterpiece with scissors and glue, and bread too!