Fool-Proof Bread Recipe

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I love to cook. and find it very relaxing.  Ever since I was in elementary school, I would pour over cookbooks looking for exotic things to make.  Whenever I go out to eat and find something new, I go home and try to duplicate it.  Amost every day, I make bread of some sort.  Today I made a cranberry version of Amish Friendship bread.  However, rolls and regular bread are my specialty.  Although I do occasionally use other recipes, most of the time I use this one to make make garlic salt rolls, bread sticks, pita bread, loaf bread, coffee cake and just about everything else.  

1 1/2 cups water

2 tea. yeast (or one packet)

1/4 cup sugar (more if you are making a sweet roll)

1 tea salt

2 TB oil (or marg.)

4 cups flour (Gold Metal is all I use, maybe Pillsbury in a pinch. I’ve had trouble with generic         brands.  Alternatively, you can add a couple of teaspoons of glutin, which you can find in most supermarkets, to the flour.  If you have trouble with rising, it is probably the flour)

Put in in the dough cycle of a breadmaker and let it go.  When done, shape and bake in regular oven.  If you don’t have a breadmaker, you can mix and knead as usual.   For most things, bake at 350 (20 minutes for rolls, 30-40 minutes for a loaf), but for Pita Bread or Pizza go up to 400 or 425 (then bake just 8 minutes for pita bread and 10-15 minutes for pizza). 

 For rolls and bread sticks, I generally take them out and brush over melted butter and then sprinkle with garlic salt.  For cinnamon buns, roll out dough and cover with one stick of butter and a cup or so of sugar and cinnamon.  Then roll up and cut with a knife or piece of thread.  To make sticky buns use brown sugar instead (you can also add nuts, raisins or other dried fruit).  To make a good coffee cake, roll out  a rectangle about 10 inches wide and 15 or more inches long.  Spread the middle of this rectangle with one packet of cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tea. vanilla or almond flavoring.  Spread over that one can of fruit pie filling (cherry is good).  Pull the two sides over the middle and pinch together.

Sour Dough:  This dough recipe never fails.  If I forget about it (all day or overnight, or both!) it gets all soggy and sort of bubbly and smells sour.  However, I’ve found it bakes up just fine with a kind of sour dough taste and a bit of a different texture.  It won’t be as easy to work with and you may just want to pour it into a pan for a loaf.  If you’ve really left it a long time, you can add a bit more sugar to give the yeast something more to eat.  Still–good enough to eat in my family!  Probably how sourdough got started in the first place.

Thanks Carrie for this post idea!  I’ve tried real sour dough before and been disappointed because I don’t think I can get my oven hot enough for a real crispy crust.  However,  you are motivating me to try!

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5 responses »

  1. You really must try the “No-Knead Sourdough,” if you haven’t already. It is amazing! It’s received rave reviews from several people that have tried it here in China… it’s like gourmet artisan bread — just what I was after! And easy, too! Chewy, moist middle with a nice open crumb and a crispy crust. The actual recipe calls for it to be baked in a Dutch-Oven to help make the crust extra crispy, but since that won’t fit in our toaster oven, we just put a small cup of water in the bottom of the oven and baked it at 400. I think we might have blown out the oven (really), but the bread turned out great! I imagine your oven won’t have any trouble at 400!

    Tell me what you think… it really is worth the effort.

    PS: I’m learning a lot about bread… now I’m just wishing I had better supplies… gluten and whole-wheat flour are a couple of things I’d love to have.

  2. Hi Carrie–I copied off all the recipes you had linked today and plan to try them all. I’ve actually been rather lazy and haven’t tried new bread recipes in a while. I tried to make a good French bread after Chris came back from France last time–but I wasn’t really able to duplicate the real thing. He hasn’t traveled for a while, so maybe the memories are less fresh and the bread will be more so! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Carrie–I’m going to have to post a comment on your blog but I wanted you to know that I did try the English Toasting bread and the No-Knead Sourdough. Both turned out great! I baked the Sourdough in a round pyrex dish–very easy. It had a very crunchy crust. I put it in a plastic bag though and that sort of made the crust get chewy, so I think I need to put it in a paper bag like they do at bakeries. Thanks! You’ve given me a new New Year’s resolution to try more bread recipes!

  4. Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed them! I’m really thrilled with how easy and tasty they are… they’re much better than just plain bread in my opinion. I have my second batch of No-Knead sourdough rising right now. Oh, and I did find at least one kind of flour that isn’t just bleached white flour. It’s buckwheat flour. And I found what I think might be whole wheat flour, but I want to take someone with me to double-check before I buy it. I just don’t want to buy a lot of flour that I don’t really want. 🙂 We have a new grocery store in the village, and they have a whole assortment of different grains. I don’t know what most of them are — guess my sight identification skills aren’t the greatest — but I did find millet, and bought some of that. Not for bread… just to try!

  5. I was wondering if I could send you some different grains. I’ll look into it. You don’t need much added to white flour. You can add nuts too. The other grains do make it harder for the bread to rise. It takes longer. Milk, eggs, sugar, oil or too much salt can have the same effect.

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