I’m an amateur at bread baking… but Aaron has been asking so I thought I’d see if I could find a decent recipe that wasn’t too difficult (if it’s too hard to make, I’ll never make it. So it’s useless.). This one took a couple tries, but I can happily say that it is very good! And truly easy as far as recipes go that require kneading! It’s a bit on the sweet side so if you don’t like that sort of thing I’d cut the sugar in half. I imagine this would be a good base for cinnamon rolls or cinnamon swirl bread (oooo I need to make that…). Here is the recipe:
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
Here is what I experienced… first of all the first batch I made came out tasting very good, but did not rise properly and was definitely the wrong texture. I should note that I did not knead by hand, but instead used my Kitchen Aid. Supposedly it should take less time when kneaded that way, but the bread just wasn’t seeming like the right texture. Finally, after like a half hour, I decided to call it good and went on with the rest of the process. When the bread came out wrong, I thought maybe I had overdone it with the kneading! I was reading these cooking forums where people talked about only having to knead for 5 minutes in the kitchen aid. But then I found this blog post. Excellent resource! When I made it for the second time I kicked my machine up to speed 4, and still had to knead it for 15 minutes at least, but it met all of the requirements in that post, so I didn’t worry about it. And I think the results speak for themselves.
Also, you are supposed to let it rise for 30 minutes the second time but I felt like it needed more and so I gave it a full hour and I’m glad I did, it got much taller and fluffier!
I should also note that I pretty much used up what bread flour I had with the first batch to the second batch was pretty much just all purpose flour. Seems fine to me.
Overall, a very good bread recipe! I’m still going to try out some others (especially now that I know how to see if the bread is done kneading), but I’m glad I found a good recipe so quickly. And Matthew loves it, even the first batch! Within a couple hours he had snuck off with nearly half a loaf. And as far as I’m concerned, if Matthew likes it then it’s a keeper.