I decided to try and make homemade bread, seeing as the cost of the ingredients is less than paying for bread at the store. I have only made regular bread once, when I was very young and it was more than 20 years ago.
I started with the "lesson one" recipe, since the cost of ingredients was minimal, and if I messed it up I wouldnt be out much. After reading some other blogs and other website tips on succsessful bread making, I think the experience turned out well enough for me to want to attempt again!
Although the instructions in lesson one are nice, I do think there are somethings that need to be detailed and somethings that need altered. This is what I did.
- Reduce salt from 2 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp. I felt it would have made the bread too salty. I have been baking other for a long time and never use salt in the recipes, but I figured it was needed in bread.
- Mix the salt in with the flour. When baking, I usualy mix dry ingredients first, it seems to make it much easier to ensure that the ingredients are more thoughouly mixed. However, after reading some tips, I did find that this is the best way, as mixing salt with the active yeast packets will actuall kill off the yeast.
- I used Fleishmans dry active yeast packet. I followed the instructions on the back of the package to proof the yeast. To "proof" yeast add it to 1/4 cup water (100-110 degrees F) and 1 tsp sugar. I used a candy thermometer to make sure the temp was with in range. My water temp was 105-106. The yeast will sit for ten minutes. Since it was very cold today, i thought the water would cool quickly, so I added the same 110 warm water to a large bowl and placed the cup of yeast inside to keep it warm. After ten minutes it was very frothy on top and watery on the bottom.
- I used warm water to add to the flour, 100-110 degrees F. I didnt add it all at once, but rather had it in a measuring cup to add slowly. I did have to add about 1/3 cup more water than recommend, and then added a small handful of flour.
As I was mixing the flour with water, I noticed that the dough was very sticky and it was clinging to my fingers. So I added a bit more flour until i was able to pick it up with out it sticking to my hands, but yet it still felt "wet"
I also used a glaze mix of one egg white and a splash of milk.