Hearty Homemade Bread - Recipe for 6-8 Loaves

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Photo: Freshly Baked Hearty Homemade Bread
Photo: Freshly Baked Hearty Homemade Bread | Source

It has been said that bread-making is an art and this is true. When you make your own bread, you control what goes into it, so you can bump up nutrition and flavor. By adding interesting ingredients, you can ensure your bread has a wonderful texture. Best of all, you can have fun with it! unleashing your creativity by forming your loaves into interesting shapes and adding tasty toppers.

It All Starts With a Good Recipe

This article offers a fantastic bread recipe and how-to tips, with pictures to guide you step-by-step, but more than that, we'll go a step beyond and discuss ways to make your bread truly special by looking at how to add texture and delicious toppers.

Use this one master recipe to make many different types of bread and bread buns.

Rest assured, making yeast bread isn't difficult. Once you get onto the process, setting a batch of bread to rise only takes about 10-15 minutes. From there, it's simply a matter of a couple of risings and a couple of punch-downs, until you are ready to pop your bread into the oven.

There's Nothing Nicer than Homemade Bread

Source

But Isn't it Hard to Make Bread?

Not at all. By following the tips in this article, you, too, can make your own.

Ready to Get Started?

Bread can be made using a few simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. You will need a large bowl and regular yeast before you begin.

Rising the Yeast

Put yeast and sugar into a bowl.
Put yeast and sugar into a bowl. | Source
With the addition of warm water, yeast starts working.
With the addition of warm water, yeast starts working. | Source

Recipe

Dissolve yeast:

I use a large measuring cup for this but you can use a small mixing bowl. You want to make sure your water is hot enough to activate the yeast but not scalding, which will kill the yeast.

into a measuring cup or bowl:

  • 2 tbsp. yeast
  • 2 tsp. of white sugar

Add:

  • 1 cup of warm water

If your water cools off and yeast stops working, simply fill a bowl with hot water and place your measuring cup into it. The "heat boost" will get your yeast bubbling and foaming again.

Adding Fat, Sugar, Salt

Add fat, sugar and salt to a large bowl
Add fat, sugar and salt to a large bowl | Source
Fat melting in hot water.
Fat melting in hot water. | Source
Ready to add yeast mixture, then flour.
Ready to add yeast mixture, then flour. | Source

Into a Large Bowl, Add:

While your yeast is rising, into a second large bowl add:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of fat
  • 2 tsp. salt




Then add:

  • 3 cups of hot water. Stir until fat is dissolved.
  • 3 cups of cold water to achieve the right temperature before you add the yeast. Water should be warm but not hot enough to kill the yeast.




I like the flavor of brown sugar, so often use it instead of white sugar when I'm making bread--especially brown bread (and as is pictured here). Brown sugar is moist, so it's not a stretch to see why your bread would also turn out moist.

Add in yeast mixture, from your first bowl or your measuring cup, which should be foamy and bubbling, and stir to mix ingredients.

Tip

I prefer a large rubber tub for mixing my bread dough in because it is easier to scrape the dough from the sides. Whatever you use, make sure you use a large enough bowl.

Wash Basins Do the Trick

For years, I used a sturdy round Rubbermaid wash basin to make my bread in. It worked wonderfully well and I found that the dough didn't stick to the sides as much as it does when using stainless steel, so clean-up was easier. If you can find one of these, I highly recommend it or a heavy plastic wash basin. Wash basins really do the trick for making large batches of bread.

Adding Flour & Mixing Bread Dough

  1. Start adding in the flour, using either a soup bowl or a flour scoop. You don't need to measure your flour because you will go by how your dough feels.
  2. Keep adding flour and stirring with a wooden spoon until your dough becomes stiff and too hard to stir.
  3. Sprinkle flour liberally over the top of the dough and start kneading the bread dough with your hands.
  4. Keep adding flour and kneading each time dough starts to feel sticky.
  5. When dough becomes firm, start folding bread dough inward with the heel of your hand, folding and heeling, working in a circle. Dough will develop an elastic feel.
  6. Continue kneading and heeling and adding flour until dough no longer sticks to your hands.
  7. Dough will form into a large ball. Add flour to any sticky spots.

Kneading & Heeling

Folding bread dough over.
Folding bread dough over. | Source
Heeling bread dough
Heeling bread dough | Source

Only 10-20 Minutes to Set a Batch to Rise

Once you know how to do it, you can put up a batch of dough in no time.

Setting Your Dough to Rise

Once you've mixed in all your flour, smooth liquid oil over the top of your dough ball, running your hand around sides of bowl to grease, as well. This prevents dough from sticking to bowl as it rises. Place a tea towel over your bowl (to prevent a crust forming on the dough) and set in a warm place to rise.

You will want to check your dough often. Allow to double in volume and punch down, let rise and punch down a second time and then shape into loaves and put in pans.

Bread dough rising nicely in bowl.
Bread dough rising nicely in bowl. | Source

Punching Down

Punching down bread dough.
Punching down bread dough. | Source

Bread Rising in Pans

Source

Shaping Bread Loaves

  1. Cut bread dough into 6-8 portions (depending on the size of your pans or your desired size).
  2. Place dough portions on a floured counter and shape into oblongs, tucking dough under at the sides.
  3. Place dough in greased pans, cover, and set to rise.

Tip

Make sure to leave space between pans because if the dough sticks together, when pulled apart, it could deflate.

Olive Bread Set to Rise

Source

Preheat Oven

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Baking Your Bread

When dough has risen 1/2-3/4 in pans, bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for approximately an hour.

  • Double-pan so that bottoms of loaves don't over-brown.
  • You may choose to reduce your heat to 300-250 degrees last 15-30 minutes of cooking time.

Cook Time

Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 loaves of bread.

A Word About Flours

If you want a white bread, a better choice from a health standpoint is to use an unbleached white flour.

I like to make nutritious whole grain bread and I use a mixture of flours, often using oat flour, Kamut flour, whole wheat flour or any other flour I have on hand.

You can use a combo of flours or use half white, half whole wheat.

Adding Texture to Brown Bread

A look through the home pantry can yield extra ingredients to add a pleasing wholesome texture to your brown bread.

  • Bran adds extra goodness and a flaky texture and goes very well in brown bread.
  • Chopped walnuts make a nice addition to homemade bread
  • Flax seeds add goodness and crunch to brown bread
  • Oatmeal makes a good filler ingredient, which saves on using so much flour, and makes for a denser bread
  • Sunflower seeds add a pleasing chewy texture to homemade bread
  • Wheat germ adds extra goodness to homemade bread and adds to the denseness

Bread Crusted With Sesame Seeds, Crunchy and So Good!

Bread topped with sesame seeds.
Bread topped with sesame seeds. | Source

Bread Toppers

I love crusting my white and whole grain bread with toppers, which add both flavor and crunch.

Add any of the following toppers, after you put your bread dough in pans to rise. I lightly press these into the dough.

Toppers stick better by brushing bread with oil or beaten egg before sprinkling them on the dough.

  • Cornmeal--Cornmeal adds a slightly crunchy texture.
  • Large oats--Large oats make an interesting and wholesome-looking topper for bread loaves.
  • Poppy seeds--Poppy seeds add a lovely color and an exotic look to the top of bread. They have a pleasing flavor and go well with any bread.
  • Sesame seeds--Bread crusted with sesame seeds tastes so good! The sesame seeds develop a toasted flavor as bread bakes and they add a delightful crunch.
  • Sifted flour--It's amazing how something so simple makes such a nice topper for bread. Many bakeries do this. As seen in the photo, I like adding sifted flour to the tops of loaves.

Adding toppers takes only seconds but it is so worth it becauseyour bread will look and taste so much better.

Poppy Seeds Make Such a Nice Topper

Bread topped with poppy seeds.
Bread topped with poppy seeds. | Source

Sifted Flour Sifted Flour Makes a Surprisingly Nice Topper for Bread

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Bread Scored on the Top

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Scoring the Top of Your Bread Loaves Before Baking

A neat touch is to score the tops of your loaves prior to baking. You often see this done in bakeries. It is important to do this as soon as you put the dough in the pans and to not cut the dough later (because it would deflat).

Making cuts in the top of your bread can add an interesting visual element to your bread.

  • Slice straight across
  • Slice on the diagonal
  • Slice in a criss-cross pattern

Do You Make Your Own Bread?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I Want to But Am Not Sure How to Actually Do it
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Bread Baking Tips

  • Use shortening to grease pans (Do not use oil as bread may stick to pans)
  • Double-pan so that bottoms do not over-brown
  • Leave spaces between bread pans when in oven for air flow
  • Do not allow baked bread to cool in pans, as bottoms will become soggy
  • Remove baked bread from pans and place loaves on a tea towel on their sides to cool.

Bread Buns

You can also make buns from this bread recipe. A good combination is 4 loaves and 1-2 pans of buns.

Cut palm-sized balls and place on counter. Bring together thumb and middle finger, and start rolling bun dough in a counter-clockwise motion. Perfectly formed balls will form. Place balls in greased pans and cook for a shorter period, 15-20 minutes at 325, then 300 degrees until golden brown.

A Word About Clean-Up

A rubber scraper is a must-have tool to make short work of clean-up. These cost pennies but I always have a couple in my kitchen. You can use a scraper to remove stuck on dough from your bowl and for getting hardened bits of dough off the counter.

Fresh From the Oven

White Bread & Cheese and Olive Bread
White Bread & Cheese and Olive Bread | Source

Why Make Your Own Bread?

People are always surprised I make my own bread. I've been doing so for years. Once you get on to the process, setting a batch of bread dough takes about 10-15 minutes. Once mastered, the whole process is actually very easy.

Perhaps, no other undertaking offers this level of satisfaction: you get a number of loaves that last for awhile, you control what goes into your bread, AND, you can be as creative as you like.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Hearty Homemade Bread

© 2013 Athlyn Green

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Comments 12 comments

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 weeks ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Mary, there are a number of ways to get around this.

1) After first punch-down, remove half of dough and pop into three loaf pans, while allowing the rest of the dough to rise a second time. When ready, cook first three loaves and pop rest of dough into pans.

2) While your first three loaves are cooking, place the other three in your fridge, which will slow rising. I've done this on occasion, depending on my oven size.

3) Make three larger loaves. You may have to lower your oven rack, and if you do, make sure to double-pan to protect bread bottoms.


Mary 4 weeks ago

Question, recipe makes six loaves of bread in my bosh bread machine. My oven only holds three loaves, what do I do with the other three while the first three bake ?

Thanks.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Jan,

Yes, we don't have to let it rise as high because it continues to rise in the oven, as it cooks.


Janet 3 years ago

Athlyn,

Thanks for the suggestions on crumbly bread. I will pay more attention on the amount of flour and shortening I use. But now that you mention it, I think I do let it raise too long. I will have to keep my eye on that.


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Janet,

There are a couple of reasons bread may crumble.

1. If left to rise for too long, this can lead to crumbling

2. Bread may not be dense enough, corrected by adding a bit more flour

3. Oil can lead to crumbly bread. Make sure you use shortening, for moist bread that sticks together. Using liquid oil rarely results in as good a bread as using shortening or lard (even though hydrogenated fat is not good for the arteries).

4. Cut back a bit on your fat. Too much fat leads to crumbling. While suitable for French bread, this is not good for regular bread that you want to be moist.

Altitude and moisture content in the air can affect bread but the reasons I've listed above are usually the real culprits.


Janet 3 years ago

I have been making this bread recipe for a while. I have one problem with it and can't seem to solve it. The bread raises beautifully and looks great, but when it is sliced it seem to crumble. If I make a sandwich with it doesn't stay solid, it starts to crumble. Any suggestions?


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 3 years ago from Yorkshire

HI

interesting hub.

I was wondering if you would like to exchange links to some of my bread recipes? I'm a complete breadnut and bake about three times a week, I even have a garden oven so that I can make bread with a hint of smoke, which is really delicious with cheese and ham.

regards

Tony


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

My favorites are sesame seeds and poppy seeds. So good!


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Sallieann,

Yes the toppers make for such flavor and texture. Thank you. :)


Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Au Fait,

Yes, you can cut the recipe in half, if you want a couple of loaves and some buns.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

This looks a lot like what my mother used to do when she made bread. I'm wondering if the recipe could be cut in half to make fewer loaves? I love home made bread and I keep meaning to learn how to make it, but so far . . .

Voted up and gave you 5 more stars!


sallieannluvslife profile image

sallieannluvslife 3 years ago from Eastern Shore

I make a lot of my own bread, mostly sourdough. I really like your topper ideas!

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