I make bread and i find that the problem with most bread made by european women when they decide to make it at home is that they make it too dry and it comes out heavy. American women are very good cooks so probably they make good bread.
First I make the basic mix i will later add more flour too when I knead it.
Dissolve your yeast, you buy it dry in shops, just put the little balls of yeast in the packet into a little water till they dissolve, it will take about ten minutes say, you can give the yeast a bit of sugar in the water to eat, yeast is a unicellular fungi
and needs food once taken out of its lethargy.
The little sacks of yeast in the packets of yeast they sell
have a pretty big quantity of yeast in them one days bake so one sack will be planty i usually only make one loaf an duse half a scak of yeast. As yeast is alive, sold dormant but alive a microrganism when you wet it and add it to your bread it will increase in your bread which iit lives in eats and breathes into.
Get a jug of salty water, as salty as you fancy you want your bread to be. i think the first recipe i did was two teaspoons of salt to a pint of water maybe it was a litre of water, quite salty.
Chuck flour in a bowl, it doesnt matter how much you will just add more water to more flour you add the water bit by bit,if you run out of water just get yoursel fsome more.
You make a pit in the centre of your flour and pour the yeast and some water in the pit and stir it around with a spoon or your hand letting the flour fall of the sides of the pit a bit and get incorporated slowly into the water till the mixture in the pit gets a bit stiff and then you add more water and mix the mess in the pit till it is a more liquid mess and then you let the mess start to incorporate flour from the side of the pit again. You go on adding water till you have incorporated all the flour. You may have water left in your jug it does not matter.
It does not matter if this mixture does not hold a shape at all you will be mixing in more flour when you knead it. Of course
if you have it too liquid it will be unweildy and hard to knead.
mixing the dough should
not take too long about five minutes it just takes a long time to write about it.
I leave this first stage of the mix to rise overnight for the yeast to work on but if it is in a warm place and suits you, you can leave it for just two hours, the bread tastes better if its is left to rise for a while. may be you coudl put part of the mixture in the fridge in the morning and keep it till you want to use it as brenda groth does.
Two hours before you want to cook it you take the mixture you have made and knead it. You put it on a floured board and knead it, probably their are pictures of kneading bread on you tube. As you knead it you incorporate more flour from the floury board, each time the dough takes up all the flour you sprinkle the board thickly with more flour. I was taught that you had to knead it till it squeaked but now i just knead it till it takes up enough flour to allow it to hold its shape a bit and my bread comes out really well, so it seems to me that kneading bread till it squeaks is just a fuss on.
When it is stiff enough to hold its form but not very well, you can see it still sinks a bit, unless its enclosed in a loaf can, then its kneaded enough. If it is very stiff it will come out dry and heavy.
When you judge it is stiff enough, you make it into the shapes you want to cook it in, I would have to do it and film it to explain how to make the different shapes. I might try it later but if i do it now it will take to long.
You make smaller peices of bread than you mean to have because you leave these peices of bread to rise again and they do rise, the yeast fills the bread full of bubbles of alcohol that it breathes out . If i remember right yeast breathes in carbondioxide and out alchol, sounds unlikely, filling the bread with bubbles of alcohol that lose their power to make you drunk in the cooking.
You leave your loaf or loaves or buns that you have formed after kneading the bread to rise, on or in the pans you mean to cook them in, on oven trays or in loaf pans. When they have risen, that should take two hours you pop them in the oven.
Two hours gone by it should be ready to put in the oven which should be preheated. If the bread rises too much before you put it in the oven, it rises more than it can manage and starts to fall in on itself again.
It takes about ten minutes to mix bread dough and about ten to knead it, unless you do lots of little loaves, the complicated thing is the timing, is organising things so as to be theri to knead it two hours before you want to cook it and having the oven hot to put the bread in. It cooks in an hour unless its very flat when it cooks a bit quicker.
If you want softer bread you put in milk
instead of water. Some desert breads and buns even have fat in them and raisins and such. You can play with the bread you make. Of course plain bread is less fattening than enriched breads and very good.
Kneading bread is a calm occupation and bread smells great, so making you own is great if you have time. agri rose