Contributed by: Laura Childs of All About Making Bread
Whole wheat, sourdough, oatmeal, potato - the list goes on. All are delicious fresh from the oven, kneaded with love and patiently awaited as the loaves rise and bake. No matter what your favorite, the secret to bread-baking skill is practice.
Let's Get Started
Start small with white bread. White bread is the easiest to bake and the ingredients are probably in your cupboard right now. Wouldn't you love to surprise your family at dinner tonight with a hot-from-the-oven treat?
The Top Three Keys to Success... Fresh Ingredients, Patience and Kneading.
Once you have enjoyed success in baking a simple white bread you can easily expand your talents using the same recipe to include variety. While mixing a 2-loaf recipe add 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes, peanut butter, or two beaten eggs - all result in bread that is heartier and deliciously moist. If you'd like to make a special savory treat, take that same recipe and add some fresh chopped herbs, garlic, or grated cheese throughout the dough.
Here's a simple recipe that has turned out perfect every time for over 40 new bread bakers. Try it out tonight - you don't even need a loaf pan! If you like you can even skip the kneading process as long as you have a strong electronic kitchen mixer. Once you see how easy it is to fill your home with the wonderful aroma of bread baking in the oven you'll be hooked on mastering this new skill!
Here's a great recipe for No Knead French Baguette
This makes delicious small crusty loaves. Golden brown on the outside, moist and slightly chewy inside.
A nice compliment to main dish pasta. Use on day 2 for bruchetta. No kneading required. Easy no-fuss bread.
Yield: 2 loaves
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Add sugar, salt, shortening and 1 cup warm water; stir until dissolved.
Add flour and stir until smooth (you may or may not knead).
Cover and let rise in a draft-free, warm place for an hour or until doubled.
Turn onto floured surface. Divide in half; let rest for 5 minutes.
Roll each half into a 10" x 8" rectangle. Roll up from the long side; pinch along seam edges to seal.
Place seam side down on oiled baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise again until doubled, approximately 45 minutes.
With a very sharp knife, make five diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf.
Bake as directed or until lightly browned.
Cool on wire racks.
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