Scared to make bread? I know, so was I. After doing some research, I thought I’d give it a shot. I was surprised at how easy it is! It does take some resting time, but it’s worth it!
Making bread requires a few simple ingredients–yeast, water, flour, olive oil, and salt. It’s best to buy your yeast “activated,” which is how most forms come in the grocery store. If your yeast is not active, you’re going to want to add it to some warm water, and add some sugar, about 2 teaspoons, to activate the yeast. You can make your dough in a mixer, but it’s just as easy to make by hand.
Let‘s Get Started
What you’ll need:
- 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast (activated)
- 2 1/4 cups warm (not hot) water. If the water is too hot, it will kill your yeast
- 6 cups BREAD flour + a little more to flour your surface when you cut it
- Bread flour is different than all-purpose, as it has more gluten. You may substitute with all-purpose, or even gluten-free flours, but the texture will be softer
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A few pinches of salt
- 2 tbsp butter, melted + one egg for an egg wash
- (Optional) 2 tbsp melted butter, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried Italian herbs
- This is for brushing the outside of the bread once it’s done (10/10 would recommend)
Making Your Bread
- Add your yeast to a bowl, then mix in your warm water. Let that sit while you set up the rest of your ingredients
- Add your flour, your salt, and your olive oil to a mixing bowl (if you’re using a mixer, you’ll need the dough hook attachment)
- Add your yeast and water, and mix or knead everything together. You want your dough to be just a little sticky, but definitely make sure the flour is evenly incorporated
- Cover your dough with Saran wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until it has risen to twice its size (This could take up to 90 minutes, so keep checking on it)
- Pro-tip: you can preheat oven to 250, cut it off and put your bowl in there with the oven door open–OR you can through your bowl in the oven with the light on (no heat required there)
It is Risen!!
What do I do next? Well, you take your dough out and put it on a floured surface (cutting board, cookie sheet, etc). Next you’re going to portion it out. Flatten the dough with your hands or a rolling pin, and cut it into equal portions.
What Can I Do With This Dough? Well, ya bake it. You can make bread loaves, bread bowls, or dinner rolls. Here’s a breakdown of how to do each:
Bread Bowls– Super easy. Take your portioned dough and mold them into the shape of a ball. MAKE SURE you have a smooth ball of dough–any creases will result in cracking–it will no longer be a bowl. Beat an egg with a splash of milk, coat your balls of dough. Score the top (cut into the top and make an X shape). Bake @ 400 degrees until golden, about 30 minutes.
Loaf Bread- literally fashion some portions of dough into a loaf shape. Score the top with a few Xs. Melt 2 tbsp butter, and add garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper, and dried Italian herb mix. Take that mixture and brush down your loaf before baking. Bake @400 , again, until brown, about 30 minutes. When you take it out, brush that baby down again with the butter mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy!
Dinner Rolls- again- roll your dough into smaller balls, score the tops with an X, brush with the butter mixture or an egg wash. Bake @400 until they are golden brown.
Pizza Dough- Take a portion of dough, and, on a floured surface, roll it out with your hands or a rolling pin. you don’t want to roll it too thin, or you might tear holes in your dough. Top with marinara/pizza sauce (homemade recipe coming soon), your choice of toppings, and cheese. I suggest a mozzarella blend, because it gets really melty and gooey. You can top that with pecorino or parm–or both!!! brush the edges with melted butter or olive oil. Bake @400 until the crust is crispy and the cheese is browned.
Pro-tip: you can refrigerate your dough. Just wrap with Saran wrap, and throw it in the refrigerator. You can use it in the next few days!
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