The smell of homemade fresh baked Bread is intoxicating. Eating fresh baked Bread still warm from the oven with butter melting into it is one of life's true pleasures. Making delicious Yeast Bread is easier than you can imagine. This is a recipe that I created that works by hand kneading or by using your Bread machine to do the kneading for you and then you bake it off in your oven. Yeast Bread dough is so versatile that with the master recipe you can make your own Dinner Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, Pizza Crust, Doughnuts, Dumplings, Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns, Garlic Bread, and Cheese Bread. Remember Grandma's Yeast Rolls at Thanksgiving dinner? Now you can be Cooking The Amazing and make Grandma proud.
If you have a bread machine sitting in the back of your cabinet collecting dust, bring it out and put it back in use. I never liked the consistency or flavor of bread machine breads. They are dense and heavy and not very good. Most bread machines have a DOUGH cycle on them. On the DOUGH cycle, the bread machine mixes and kneads then allows your dough to go through the first rise. All you do is dump in the ingredients and push the start button. After the first rise, you remove the dough, punch it down, then hand knead for 1 minute and shape your dough into rolls (or whatever you are making). Then allow it to rise again until double in size in a warm area and bake in your oven. Follow your bread machine instructions for making "dough only" using my easy recipe. This recipe works for both hand kneading and the bread machine. Do NOT use "bread machine yeast" or "rapid rise yeast". NOTE: This recipe is for large capacity bread machines 1 1/2 to 2 lb loaf pan size not the 1 lb size which would be too small. Most bread machines are the large capacity size.
Here is the recipe.
YEAST BREAD MASTER RECIPE
- 2 Pkgs Active Dry Yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 c Sugar
- 1 1/4 c Whole Milk
- 4 1/2 c All Purpose Flour
- 1 t Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 5 Tbls Butter, unsalted, softened
- 1/2 c All Purpose Flour for the board
- Non Stick Cooking Spray (like Pam)
- 1 Tbls Vegetable Oil (for hand kneading only)
- (Total prep and cooking time approx. 3 hrs)
TIP: Substitute 1/3 the AP Flour with Whole Wheat Flour for wheat bread.
- Place all the Active Dry Yeast and the Sugar into the bread machine pan or if hand kneading, into a large bowl and mix well. The yeast should be room temperature when starting. (Some people refrigerate yeast to extend it's life). Check the expiration date on yeast package.
- Microwave the Whole Milk for 50-60 secs until medium hot (approx 110-115 degrees). Yeast will die if the milk is too hot. Test with your finger and it should be very warm but not too hot that you can not keep your finger in it. It would feel too hot to feed a baby at the right temperature but not so hot that you can't leave your finger in it.
- Pour the milk over the yeast and sugar. The sugar feeds the yeast and allows it to "proof" or "bloom" meaning activating the yeast to make your bread rise. Stir hot milk into the yeast and sugar and close the lid of your bread machine or cover your bowl with a towel for 7-10 mins, until the yeast begins to bubble and get foamy (proof or bloom) See picture below. If after 10 minutes nothing happens and it just looks like milk with yeast grains floating in it, you need to start again. The yeast is dead.
- Dump 4 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour on top of the proofed yeast in your bread machine pan or bowl if hand kneading. The flour should NOT be sifted. Use a leveled measuring cup for exact measurement. Do not pack flour into measuring cup.
- Sprinkle Salt on top of flour.
- In a bowl, whisk eggs until well mixed then pour on top of flour.
- Cut the room temperature softened butter into 1/2 inch chunks and dump onto the flour and eggs.
- For Bread Machine method: Close bread machine lid and push start while on the DOUGH cycle.
- Allow the DOUGH cycle to mix and knead the dough and go through the first rising in the bread machine. (approx. 1 1/2 hrs.) The machine stops and will not bake the bread on this cycle.
- For Hand Kneading method: If hand kneading, mix the ingredients well with a large spoon until too stiff to mix. Then using your hands, dump out dough onto a floured surface and hand knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and an indentation made with your finger springs back. Or use your KitchenAid with a dough hook as directed by the KitchenAid instructions. Don't over knead. If the bread is sticky and too soft, add 1/4 c All Purpose Flour and knead for 1 min until smooth and elastic. Place the dough ball into an oiled (vegetable oil) bowl and roll the dough ball around to oil the dough ball surface. Cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm place for approx 1 hr. The dough should double in size when ready. If your kitchen is cool this may take up to 2 hrs.
- For Both Methods: Once your bread has risen, punch it down with your hand in the pan or bowl and deflate it. Pull it out with your hands and place it on a floured surface and hand knead it for 1 minute.
- Now you will shape your dough into the shape you want to bake it as. For dinner rolls you would pinch off egg sized chunks and roll into a ball space 2 inches apart on an oil sprayed baking pan and place in a warm place and alow to rise, doubling in size, approx. 45-60 mins. Then bake 350 degrees for 12-15 mins. For loafs of bread you would divide dough into 3rds and shape by hand into 3 smooth large oval dough balls that will fit your bread pan. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 45-60 mins or until double in size. Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 mins or until browned. Large loaves may need up to 18 mins. Always spray your bread pans with non stick cooking spray because this bread will stick even in non stick pans. Use dark pans for the best results for an even cooked brown crust.
- Dough shaping specifics for rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, buns, etc will follow.
- SECOND RISING BASICS: Place your shaped dough in a warm area (I heat my oven to 200 degrees then turn it off for 15 minutes and place my dough in my closed oven. I preheat my oven just before I punch down my dough then allow it to cool as I knead and shape. You want the oven barely warm, NOT hot.) Allow dough to rise a second time for approx 45-60 mins until double in size. Do NOT allow to over rise or for too long or your bread will fall when baking later.
- BAKING BASICS: Bake for 12-15 mins in a 350 degree oven until the tops are brown. Allow to cool in the pan 5 mins before removing from pan. You can serve immediately or cool completely on a wire rack then once room temp. store in air tight plastic wrap or storage bag.
TIP: Use heavy dark metal pans for the best baked breads and for an even brown exterior.
RECIPE IN PICTURES
This is what "proofed" yeast will look like. The yeast is "bloomed" and ready to use.
Kneading the dough is easy. Push with the palms of your hands away from you then stretch and pull the dough back to you. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat stretching the dough out and pulling it back using your palms.
Here is the dough ball ready after first rise and punched down and kneaded for 1 minute ready to be shaped.
Baked Yeast Bread Rolls
PIZZA DOUGH: For pizza dough, make dough as above but after the first rising shape your dough on a floured surface, using your hands to stretch the dough and a rolling pin, make 2 large round flat crusts big enough to fit your pizza pan. Spray your pizza pan to help release it after baking. Do not allow dough to go through the second rising step. Top the stretched dough with pizza sauce and your choice of toppings and bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 mins until crust is browned and cheese bubbly. This makes a thick bread like crust, not a thin and crispy one.
CINNAMON ROLLS: To make Cinnamon Rolls go to the recipe page click here.
HAMBURGER or HOT DOG BUNS: Make dough as above and after first rise and kneading for 1 minute, cut off balls of dough about the size of a large tangerine (3 inch round ball approx). Shape with your hands into a round disk and flatten with your palm for hamburger buns. Roll into a 1 1/2 inch wide log about 4 inches long for hot dog buns and place about 3 inches apart on an oil sprayed cookie sheet. Let rise for 45-60 mins or until double in size then bake 350 degrees for 10-15 mins or until browned on top. Allow to cool on pan 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
DUMPLINGS: To make dumplings, as in chicken and dumplings, make dough as above through to the the first rise and knead 1 minute. On a floured surface roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut 2 inch thick strips of dough. Cut the strips of dough into 1 inch squares and toss them into a bowl of 1 cup of flour, coating each square well. Shake off excess flour and toss, one at a time, into simmering well seasoned chicken stock or broth with chunks of cooked chicken. Dumplings will rise to top. Stir frequently. Dumplings take about 10-15 mins to cook through. The flour from the dumplings will thicken the stock.
CHEESE BREAD: Make dough as above through the shaping step after first rising. After kneading for 1 min. add in 2 cups of 1 inch cubed cheese and 1 T of dried herbs like oregano or thyme. The best is a mixture of cheddar and Gruyère or use 1 c of grated Parmesan cheese.
Knead by hand until cheese is mixed in well for about 2 mins. Shape into rolls or 3 loaves of bread and place in an oil sprayed baking pan and allow to rise in a warm place 45-60 mins until double in size. Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned on top. Let sit 5 mins in pan before removing.
DOUGHNUTS: Make dough through the shaping step as above. Roll dough out into a rectangle and using a round cookie cutter about 3 inches across or a clean opened can, cut out rings of dough. Use a small 1/2 inch cookie cutter or small lid from a spice jar and cut a hole in the middle. Place rings on an oil sprayed cookie sheet and let rise 45-60 mins in a warm place until double in size. After second rise, drop dough nuts into a large deep pot of Crisco heated to 350 degrees. Allow to fry until browned on one side then flip with a chop stick or long spoon carefully to other side and allow to brown. Place cooked dough nuts onto paper towels to drain. After draining and still warm, toss in a sugar and cinnamon mixture or in powdered sugar and allow to cool on a wire rack.
GARLIC BREAD: Prepare dough as above and make rolls or loaves of bread as directed above. Spread the following on the baked bread after cutting in half and wrap in foil and re-bake for 15 mins in 350 degree oven.
4-6 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 stick of Butter, melted
1 tsp of Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1Tbsp Italian Seasoning Herbs
Mix well in a bowl and brush onto bread halves. For crispy garlic bread, leave bread out of foil and cut side up under a broiler 5 inches away for 4-7 mins until bubble and brown. Watch it close. It will burn very quick! Option: sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
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