Sunday, April 11, 2010

Making bread

Making bread is one of my favorite homey things in the world. Just the scent of fresh bread wafting from the oven is heavenly. The following is a simple recipe I tried last Friday. The ingredients listed below are for a small batch of about 6-8 buns, but the amount can be easily doubled, tripled and so on, as needed.

1\2 kg flour
1 tbsp dry yeast
3\4 tbsp. sugar
1\4 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil
About 1 1\2 cup water – water should be added last, gradually, to make sure the dough doesn't turn sticky. More water can be added if needed, but most likely you'll need a bit less.
I also threw in a teaspoonful of caraway seeds.

Once the dough is mixed, pull up your sleeves and start kneading. This, without a doubt, is my favorite part of the whole bread-making process. As an added bonus, it's interesting to observe for Shira (15 months old), so much that soon, I have no doubt, she will want to join in and start kneading herself.

After a few minutes of hard work, you should have a firm, smooth, non-sticky ball of dough, which you next leave to rise until it doubles in size. In cool weather, it may take several hours, which is why I like to mix my dough early in the morning.

Once the dough has doubled its size, knead again and leave again to rise, until the size is doubled once more. Then form your buns (or single loaf, if you choose) place them in the baking tray, and leave for about another half hour. Finally, pop the tray into the oven. For my buns, it took only about 20 minutes at medium heat until they were ready. For a loaf I suppose it would take longer. The key is to observe: once your buns and slightly browned on the top, and a toothpick comes out of them dry, they are ready.

For a long time, I believed that working with yeast is supposed to be complicated. But once I dared to try, I was rewarded by many delicious varieties of homemade bread – which isn't just a money-saver, but is also infinitely superior to all affordable sorts of commercial bread. You don't need any special skills or equipment to go ahead and start enjoying fresh bread hot from the oven – just some flour, water, yeast, and a bit of experimenting.

Oh, and another point: I used to believe making bread is time consuming. It is not, really – it's true that it takes a while for the bread to rise, but the actual process of your work on making and kneading the dough shouldn't take more than 20 minutes, with this simple recipe.

(I know the photo came out a bit blurry. Sorry about that! I was in rather a hurry because it was already late afternoon on Friday, but I really wanted to take a picture to share with you on the blog. A recipe always seems more "real" and tempting to try when you see a picture. I suppose this one is better than nothing.)  


SweetPeaknits said...

They look fantastic. I bet they taste it too. x

momto9 said...

I love making bread and rolls and a whole host of other things:) That's why my blog is named what it is:)
I can picture you kneading the dough with your little one by your skirts. I love the peace in your posts.

Anonymous said...

I also enjoy making my own bread! It can be relaxing or invigorating or even a great stress reliever.

When I was working fulltime, I used to make bread several times a week, and boy! did I take out my frustrations on that unsuspecting dough. Thump, bang, slap! And boom-a-boom-a-boom! A ten or fifteen minute "workout" while dinner cooked, and I was ready to face the world with a smile. I sent my husband to the office with a different type of bread every day for a month.

I don't work outside the home any more, and now kneading bread is a very relaxing experience. I think my two favorite smells in the world are fresh bread and clothing right off the line.

Rose said...

Nice looking rolls Anna! I love to make bread too but I do cheat and use the breadmaker for mixing and the first rise.

Jo said...

The smell of baking bread is wonderful - makes the house feel so homely.

Luci said...

Yum! Thanks for sharing. It looks like everything turned out wonderfully :)