After many failures with old family recipes I discovered the art of making bread.
I usually make a one pound loaf. I always began with a starter made of one cup of flour, one cup of water, a teaspoon of active dry yeast and a large pinch of sugar. I mix the starter in a 64 ounce Glad brand rectangular container by hand until smooth and let it sit for a few minutes or a few hours and if longer in the refrigerator. I let the refrigerated starter warm up before using. This extra yeast growth gives the rising a boost and adds flavor. I add the starter to the rest of the flour and ingredients
After kneading by hand or mixer I use the same container, after spraying the inside with a cooking spray, for the second rise. This seems to be more convenient, less clean up and keeps the rising dough moist. I purchase the yeast in a “big box” store. Two one pound containers cost less than $4.00. I keep the yeast in the freezer in a sealed container. The price beats the small package and small bottle at local grocery store by a mil