Introduction: Get Back at the Man. Make Your Own Bread.

Picture of Get Back at the Man. Make Your Own Bread.

As everybody knows, Bread is one of the major food groups. Along side Oreos, Beer and Peanut Butter, so it is important to have enough of it in your diet.

Bread Giants and Supermarket chains realise this, and in turn charge you top dollar for their rather poor quality loafs. Crumb by crumb, It works out much cheaper to make your own bread than to buy it from the supermarket, as the graph at the bottom of the page will show you.

Many a simpleton would tell you that making bread takes a long time. And they'd be right. (Some educated folk will tell you it takes longer than it actually does, but thats a separate story). From start to finish, it takes around 3-4 hours to have a freshly baked ignot of loafy goodness sitting on your lap.

BUT it is the bread that does most of the hard work. You can wander off and do your laundry or read a book, or something else, for the most part, and it will only take about 30 minutes of your time.

This is my first instructable; I'm learning the ropes so please bear with me! I don't have all the images right now, but they are coming!

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients and Equipment

Picture of Gather the Ingredients and Equipment

Let the hunter/gatherer in you take over! Head out to your local Serengeti / Supermarket / etc, and hunt / purchase / otherwise obtain the following items;

Ingredients
700g - Strong bread flour. I use white, but it doesn't matter which you buy.
1 Packet - "Fast Action" yeast powder. They usually come in packs of about 6
25g - Butter
1 Tablespoon - Salt
1 Teaspoon - Caster Sugar (optional)
425ml - Hand hot water

Equipment
900g / 2lb Bread Tin

(hopefully, you should have weighing scales and a mixing bowl also)

Once you have all the above, clean down your work surfaces, your hands, and your mind, and stroll right onto Step 2

Everything should look something like this:

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

Into your clean mixing bowl, add 700g of flour. Keep the bag of flour, you will need it later.

Firstly, you want to rub the butter into the flour. then, you want to add the remaining ingredients;

1 Tbsp Salt
1 packet of Yeast
1 tsp Caster sugar. (if you want a crustier crust;)


You can also add any other bits, like seeds and other things you might like in your bread.

Mix all the ingredients by hand, and make a little well in the center. A well by definition likes water*, so that is what we shall add....

*by this theory, you could add crude oil instead, but that wouldn't make for very nice bread.

Step 3: Add the Water, and Make the Dough.

Whip out your finest Measure-wares, for you need some hand-hot water. All that means is you can dip your hand in it without it burning.

I find that a 50/50 mix of boiling and cold water make for the right temperature.

Add the water slowly, while mixing with a spoon. You want to keep stirring until it has a regular consistency. Once you can put your hands in without getting too stuck, it's fine.

You are aiming for a soft dough, not too dry, not too soggy either. I don't have a picture just yet, as my hands were covered in dough at the time.

Once you have a nice soft dough, let it sit a minute in the bowl.

The next step is probably the hardest. Thankfully, it doesn't take too long.

Step 4: Kneading the Dough.

This takes about 10 - 15 minutes of your time, and is the most energy consuming part of the process.

Get your ball of dough, and sit it flat on a well floured surface, and rub some flour between your hands. This will stop the dough from sticking from both you and the surface you are working on.

Now, with the heel of one hand you need to push the bread away from you, whilst pulling the dough towards you with the other. Once the dough is suitably stretched, fold it back upon itself to form a big dough ball once more.

You then want to turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat the process. You will want to keep doing this for about 10-15 minutes, making sure you apply plenty of flour to the surface you are working on and your hands.

(again, photos would help here, so I shall endeavor to upload some soonish!)

Step 5: Wait for a While....

So now you've done the hard work, you've mixed all your ingredients and you have a nicely kneaded lump of bread.

What you want to do now is grease your bread pan. I tend to use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, but butter or spray-on stuff will do just fine.

Shape your dough to the right size to match your bread pan. You can add pleats to it if you wish, but it's much easier to just bung it straight into the pan. I like to score some grooves into the top of the dough, as it makes it look pretty when it comes out of the oven, but again, it's all optional.

Now you leave your dough to double in size. Cover your pan with a damp (clean!) tea towel, and leave it in a warm place. I stick mine next to the radiator in my kitchen. The tea towel will prevent the bread from drying out.

You now want to leave it for between 1 and 2 hours for the bread to double in size, but keep coming back to check on it. At this point you will want to pre-heat your oven to 230 Degrees C / 450 Degrees F / Gas Mark 8.

It is at this point in the process where the yeast gets to work, known as "Leavening" whereby the air is introduced into the bread. If you reproduced this instructable, sans yeast, you would get a very flat, very dense bread.

The Science part;

Those little granules of yeast do all the hard work. You can't see it with your naked eye, but if you had a microscope, you would be able to see the yeasts pumping up the bread with really tiny bicycle pumps. As you can imagine, it's a very tiring process, and that's why it takes so long. If you leave them working at it for too long, much like a rubber balloon, the dough will eventually pop

(ok, so that isn't true. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermentation_%28food%29">Fermentation</a> occurs in the loaf, where by the strains of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the common one amongst bakers) produces carbon dioxide from the carbohydrates available to it).

Step 6: Do Something Productive for a While

Go read a book. Write an instructable. Do your laundry.

Or you could do nothing, it's up to you. Either way, make a note of what time you left your bread, and check on it after about an hour.

It should take somewhere between the 1 and 2 hour point for it to rise, depending on the conditions of where you stored it.

Step 7: Bake It!

Almost there!

Now your bread has doubled in size, it is time to put it in your pre-heated oven! (set to 230C / 450F / Gas Mark 8)

Now leave it in there for about 35-40 minutes.

After this time, come back and check if the bread has cooked. A quick way to check, is to knock on the base of the loaf. It should sound hollow.

Once it is cooked, I like to leave it in the oven (minus pan) for about 5 more minutes. This makes it a little crustier.

Step 8: Smell Your Bread! (Because You Are Almost Finished)

Picture of Smell Your Bread! (Because You Are Almost Finished)

Possibly the most satisfying smell in the world is that of freshly baked bread. Give yourself an olfactory treat with a big nose-full of freshly-baked-bread-air....

So your bread is pretty hot right now, so you are still going to have to wait a little longer before you can eat it.

Put the bread on a wire rack, wrapped in a tea towel, and allow it to cool. You can cut into it and eat it after about 5-10 minutes if you really want, but it needs to be completely cool before you store it. I store mine in plastic freezer bags, and then treat it like any other loaf.

Possibly the best thing about baking bread is the money you will save. An average supermarket loaf will cost me about £1.20 ($2.40) if I go for the branded stuff. Aside from buying the bread tin, each loaf i make is much cheaper than that; No more than 40p per loaf, depending on what brand of flour I choose to buy.

So not only is it much cheaper, once you have the technique down it will be much more enjoyable than store-bought bread too!

I hope you enjoyed this instructable :)

Comments

Tigermouse made it! (author)2014-02-12

First try! Not bad but pretty dense. But then I used baking soda instead of yeast. and to little of it. Better luck next time. But the kneading is a nice workout, I must say... so much more rewarding than other fitnessexcercises!

tercero (author)2008-02-10

Personally, I really hate the taste of packaged yeast ie.Fleischmann's yeast. The yeast flavor always carries over into the end product (the baked loaf) and really leaves an unpleasant after taste. Is there anyway around this? I've read about "cake yeast" that bakers use. Any others? //Good instructable. Making bread is hard physical work though. All that kneading.

diy_bloke (author)tercero2011-12-10

Finally someone who sees this as well. Seriously of all the loafs I tried, whatever recipe, there was never teh scent of 'fresh bread' but always this weird smell and taste of packaged yeast. I stopped making bread alltogether, in spite of all the positive stories, because I have never been able (well maybe once or twice) to make a bread that came even close to tasting as good as a regular supermarket bread.
Either I am doing something wrong, or I have never been able to get the right ingredients, or it is al hogwash that I read :-)

Love to be able to make a decent bread (that is how I ended up here) but my kid already gets a sour face if he finds out daddy is trying to make bread again :-)

solo.card (author)tercero2008-02-10

I believe you can use baking soda instead of yeast. I have never used it, so I don't know how consistent it would be compared to yeast, but I guess the aftertaste would be gone (or different at least)..

Kaiven (author)solo.card2008-02-29

how do you use baking soda instead? just replace the yeast with it? my mother and i have been searching for a while... And what if you only have self rising flour?

kitsuken (author)Kaiven2009-01-29

Google for Irish soda bread, there's plenty of recipes available online. It is fairly different to white yeast bread, but personally I love the taste

tercero (author)solo.card2008-02-10

It wouldn't taste very good. It would be more of a "quick bread" than a yeast bread. I wonder if I can find a nice sourdough starter. Might be easier than trying to find bakers yeast.

solo.card (author)tercero2008-02-10

That is true. Have you tried any local vegetarian / health food shops? One near me stocks bakers yeast, in about 250g bags.

leebryuk (author)solo.card2008-02-11

Good idea. I hate the price of the individual packaged yeast. It cuts down on the economy.

tercero (author)solo.card2008-02-10

It's probably a good place to start. I was also going to call some of the local small bakeries and see if they'd part with some of their sponge or some yeast. I'll try the health food store it's a good idea.

Culturedropout (author)tercero2008-02-10

This recipe is from Mother Earth News, who adapted it from The New York Times. 1/4 Tsp active dry yeast 1 1/2 cups warm water 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1 1/2 Tsp salt Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting 1) In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature (about 70 degrees F) 2) The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes. 3) Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it's ready, dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger. 4) At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that's OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don't worry if it's not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes. 5) Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Yield: One 1 1/2 pound loaf --- I used the removable ceramic insert from our "Crock Pot," along with its lid, to bake the bread. I used a clean t-shirt to wrap the bread. Don't use a terrycloth towel like I tried once! This makes a really good, chewy bread with a thick crust; it's great toasted, too!

lunarman52 (author)2010-02-25

stick it to the man

frankmci (author)2009-01-19

If you let the dough sit for a bit longer, say ten minutes or so, the kneading is a lot easier. There's a French name for the resting period, but I can't think of it. From what I've read, allowing it to rest for at least ten minutes gives it time for the moisture to evenly penetrate down at the microscopic level, and also gives some enzymes time to start breaking down the proteins, making the gluten forming and stretching much easier.

FaqMan (author)2009-01-19

This is great way of sticking to bread makers and now i can make my own bread.

galenorama (author)2008-09-02

Great job!! My bread is baking right now. It smells SOOOOO good.

omnibot (author)2008-02-10

Good recipie. I got me a baking-machine a year ago. It's saving me a load of moneys a year. Mostly I use recepies off the internet or cookbooks and divide by four.

}{itch (author)2008-02-10

That's one mighty fine looking loaf! I made a new years resolution to eat only home-made bread, I'm yet to make something that looks quite so good. If you can't find a warm place to let the bread rise I've found filling a sink with warm water and leaving the dough in a pan in that seems to work quite well.

tercero (author)}{itch2008-02-10

Or place it on a heating pad on "high" . I saw that on Alton Browns "Good Eats".

code_e (author)2008-02-09

I already knew how to make bread, but gave you a +1 for such an appetizing looking loaf. Made my stomach growl....

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-09

Yum!

Now I will be the one that puts bread on the table.
;-)
Just kidding.
We don't eat bread.
We eat a lot of bread.

Garlic bread rules!

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