Baking bread involves several steps, and there are various recipes and methods you can follow. Here’s a basic guide to get you started on making homemade bread:
- 3 1/4 cups (400g) all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups (300ml) warm water (about 110°F or 43°C)
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar (optional, helps with yeast activation)
- Activate the Yeast:
- In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. If using sugar, add it now. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy and bubbly. This means the yeast is active.
- Mix Dry Ingredients:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients:
- Pour the activated yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead the Dough:
- Flour your work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You may need to add a little more flour if it’s too sticky.
- First Rise:
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.
- Shape the Bread:
- Punch down the risen dough to remove excess air. Shape it into a loaf or divide it into smaller portions for rolls or other shapes.
- Second Rise:
- Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet or in a loaf pan, cover it again, and let it rise for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- If desired, slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade. This helps the bread expand while baking. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes for a loaf, or less for smaller shapes, until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Let the bread cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Remember that bread baking can take some practice, and you can experiment with different flours, hydration levels, and flavors to find your perfect recipe.