If you are a carb hater…look away. Or, if you love carbs, but white bread give you the chills…you have been warned. But, I’m telling you, this bread is perfection. You’ll be sorry you missed out! It’s soft and chewy on the inside with just the right amount of crust (not overly crusty like some homemade bread can be). It is delicious with a bowl of soup or made into a sandwich. To be completely honest, I hardly ever make this yummy bread because when I do, I tend to each way too much.
There’s lot of steps in this tutorial, but don’t let that scare you. Making homemade bread is really pretty easy.
Here’s what you need to make a couple of loaves of your own:
To get started, put 3 cups of flour into your stand mixer. (If you have a bread machine…stay tuned. I’ll include directions at the bottom with the recipe!)
Then add 1 Tablespoon of yeast, 1 Tablespoon of Dough Enhancer, and 2 Tablespoons of Vital Wheat Gluten. If you’ve ever wondered the secret to really tall homemade bread, add Dough Enhancer and Vital Wheat Gluten! I got mine from the regular grocery store in the baking section, but if you can’t find it there, I know you can order them both online. I add it to every homemade bread recipe I find even when they aren’t included in the ingredients list.
After adding those three ingredients, mix them together with the dough hook. Then, just leave that part alone for a minute.
Meanwhile, you need to get the liquids ready. In a saucepan, add 2 1/4 Cups of milk.
1 Tablespoon of butter (Salted or Unsalted…it really doesn’t matter),
2 Tablespoons of sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Stir in the salt and sugar until it’s pretty much dissolved. You’ll want to check again after you’ve heated it up to make sure there isn’t any left on the bottom of the pan.
Take the saucepan over to the stove and heat the milk up. Watch it closely to make sure you don’t over heat the milk. You want it just scalded. It’s scalded when the edges just start to bubble. If you have a candy thermometer, you don’t want it to go over 120 degrees.
See how there is a the edge of the pan has some frothy bubbles and the butter has just started to melt? That’s how you scald milk. Remove it from the heat and let the butter melt. If you’re in a hurry, just stir the butter in and it’ll melt faster.
When the butter is all melted, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with the dough hook.
Stir it until the ingredients are all wet and then set the timer for 3 minutes and let it do it’s thing. Make sure there are no flour pockets stuck on the side or the bottom. I usually scrape the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon periodically.
When it’s done stirring, add 3 more cups of flour.
Then stir again. This time, set the timer for 5 minutes. It really works your stand mixer, so I usually mix it on the lowest setting.
As it stirs (or really kneads) the dough, the gluten starts to get activated. That’s what makes the bread so chewy. When it’s done mixing, transfer the dough to a bowl. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the dough and turn the dough several times in the bowl to coat the outside. This will help prevent the dough from drying out while it’s rising.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise. It usually takes about an hour.
It needs to rise until double in size. When mine is done, it fills the whole bowl completely. Do you want to know a trick to getting your dough to rise faster? Preheat your oven to the lowest setting. Turn it off as soon as it’s preheated. Then, put your dough in the warm oven to rise.
This recipe is enough for 2 loaves, so when it’s completely risen, divide the dough in half. Then, roll out each half into a rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. =)
Roll up the dough jelly-roll style.
And put it in a greased loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. I almost always grease the inside of the plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t stick as it gets larger.
Let your dough rise again. You want it to get really tall like this:
It will rise more in the oven, but you want it to do most of the rising before baking. When it’s ready, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. That’s another thing I do with all bread, no matter the recipe. 350 for 30 minutes no matter what. Mine always turns out better that way.
See how nice and tall it turned out? Just like store-bought bread. But way better tasting!
If you can wait, let it cool off. Then you can enjoy a slice with homemade strawberry freezer jam.