I Made Bread (Or How I Overcame My Fear of Yeast): A Tutorial

Problem:  Bread is my favorite food. Bread is expensive.

Solution: Learn how to make it.

Problem: HAHAHAHAH Make bread? HAHAHAHAHA

Solution: Suck it up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. WARM water
  • 6 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp yeast (or 2 of those little Fleischmann’s packets pictured above)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
Tools: 
  • 1 large baking pan
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 large cutting board or counter top
  • HANDS!
As a first timer this took about 2 hours. It can probably be done much quicker, but don’t quote me on that. It makes a nice dense bread, perfect for sandwiches and all your bread needing desires!

This recipe is a hodgepodge of some I found online and then made my own. Mostly ’cause I didn’t understand them and was nervous so I kept going in for second and third opinions until I just said “screw it!” and figured it out. I think I’ve watched one too many Looney Tunes or something though because I had it in my head that if I screwed up the yeast, it was going to quadruple in size, take over my kitchen, explode and then kill me.

Anyhow, on to the recipe:

First things first: ACTIVATE THE YEAST! Seriously, that’s what you’re going to do. Try not to think about the fact that yeast is alive and you can kill it. Or, in my case, that it can kill you.

Really though, this is quite easy and mostly requires patience:

  • Combine the water, sugar, vinegar and yeast in a mixing bowl
  • Stir it up a bit.
  • Wait 3-5 minutes and watch it get bubbly

Now for the super fun part. Beat the CRAP out of the terrifying yeast.

((Of course, at this point you will have realized that it’s the yeast that gives bread that bready smell so maybe you’re feeling less anxious…))

  • Boil a small pot of water (I’ll explain later)
  • Add salt and canola oil to the mix.
  • Add the flour slowly. (Maybe a cup at a time. Or just shake it in steadily. This makes life easier on you)
  • Mix everything and add a little more flour if you feel the dough is too soft. (I don’t pretend to know what “too soft” is, but all the recipes say this. So I just assumed mine WAS too soft and added a handful of flour at the end. Win!)
  • Remove the dough ball from your bowl, place it on your lightly floured cutting board/counter and knead it for 3-5 minutes. (A simple kneading technique: spin, flatten, fold, repeat)
Let it Rise
  • Put the kneaded dough back in the mixing bowl
  • Put mixing bowl and boiling pot of water in an UNHEATED stove (apparently this is just enough warmth to speed up the rising process. too warm, and you will KILL THE YEAST!)
  • Wait around and watch it rise. I should have timed this but I didn’t. Maybe 30 minutes or so. (TIP: You know it’s risen to double it’s size if your stick your fingers in and the indents stay put. If they come back, it needs to rise a little more.)
  • I let it rise TWICE. Meaning I punched it back down after the first time and let it rise again. (Now who’s in charge?!)

((I’m patting my back right now for unintentionally writing a fairly violent bread making tutorial right around Halloween. High five!))

  • Once the bread has risen again (like a zombie!), place it on the lightly floured cutting board/counter.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Lightly spray the baking sheet and sprinkle corn meal
  • Separate dough into 2 large or 3 small bread shaped pieces. Y’know, like a rounded rectangle. Basically just shape it how you want.
  • Place shaped dough on the baking pan
  • Slash the top with a knife
  • Let it sit and rise a little longer (maybe 30 minutes or so), or until it’s the size you want it to be
  • Brush one beaten egg on the top
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • YOU MADE BREAD!
Get so excited you that forget to take a picture with your nice camera before you cut it so all you have is this lousy instagram shot of the loaves.
Seriously… I am REALLY proud of this delicious bread. I promise you can make it too!

Tip: It’s really hard to tell if bread is done. I chose the thumping method. Simply flip it over and lightly thump the bottom. If it sounds hollow then it’s done!

Tip: Bread making really is about waiting around. It’s not that it’s hard to make. It’s that it’s hard to stay awake.

4 Comments

  1. Reply
    odyglo October 23, 2012

    I’m impressed! It looks fantastic. So, do you have any left for day two? That seemed to be a problem for me with baking bread, after smelling it’s yumminess all day, it disappeared pretty fast.

    Congratulations on adding to your cooking repertoire!

    • Reply
      Ry October 23, 2012

      I made SUCH a dense loaf that we have TONS left. Tonight? Bruschetta! I can’t wait.

  2. Reply
    Courtney Calkins October 27, 2012

    Well, my two loaves are just sad. I’m thinking my yeast was old/too old because it really didn’t rise. Will get some fresh yeast and give it another go with hopefully much better results. The recipe is so easy I didn’t think I could screw it up!

  3. Reply

    […] night I used this bread recipe to make homemade hamburger buns and then used the remaining 2/3 of the dough to make this cinnamon […]

Leave a Reply