My Quest to Bake Home-Made Bread

My Quest to Bake Home-Made Bread

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Between The Simple Dollar’s home-made bread post and my new KitchenAid mixer, I had plenty of inspiration to try baking my own bread.

How To Bake Homemade Bread Fail

My first attempt was a recipe for “Rapid Mix Cool Rise White Bread” that is in the recipe book that came with my mixer. I used it so I could get used to mixing times and speeds. My first loaf came out perfect! I was very very excited at the premise of making my own bread whenever I wanted!

My second loaf, did not rise. I killed the yeast with water that was too hot. So I immediately went out and bought a $5 digital thermometer at target. With that help, my third loaf came out perfect just like the first one.

After two good loaves of bread, I thought I had this baking bread thing down pact. So, I tried to make wheat bread. Boy was I in for a treat. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and my first loaf did not rise.

So I tried again. Second loaf did not rise.

Two failures started to get me down so I switched gears to a white cinnamon swirl bread. Fail. I do not even know what went wrong with this one!

Even though I was definitely starting to get discouraged by this point (and annoyed at seeing all my hard work end up in the garbage) I did not give up.

I tried another white cinnamon swirl bread recipe and, finally, had success again!

I am a little nervous now to try other variations of bread. I want to try wheat again or maybe half/half. I want to perfect a sandwich bread and an eating bread. For now, I will stick with the two loaves that I can make and just hope that practice makes perfect. I now know how temperamental bread baking can be and will be better prepared for failures (and not get too overconfident by the successes).


Rapid Mix Cool Rise White Bread Recipe


This recipe makes 1 loaf of a delicious eating white bread with lots of flavor. Tastes great for plain toast, toast with fried egg on top, grilled cheese, and soup dipping.

3-3 1/2C all-purpose flour
1T white sugar
1 3/4t salt
1 1/2pkg (3 1/4t) active dry yeast
1/8C butter, softened
1C very warm water (120-130F)

Place 2 1/2C flour, sugar, salt, yeast and butter in mixer bowl. Using dough hook, mix on speed 2 for 20 seconds. Gradually add the water and mix a minute longer.

Add remaining flour 1/2C at a time and mix on speed 2 until dough clings to hook and clings to sides of bowl, roughly two more minutes. Knead with dough hook on speed 2 for two minutes longer.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and a towel. Leave it be for 20 minutes.

Shape into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Brush with oil (cover with chopped oats if you’d like) and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2-12 hours.

When ready to bake, slowly uncover the dough and let stand to room temperature for 10 minutes.

Bake at 400F for 35-40minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire racks.


White Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe

This recipe makes 1 loaf of a delicious soft white sandwich bread with a super yummy cinnamon swirl inside.

Dough
1pkg (2 1/4t) Active Dry Yeast
1/4C white sugar, plus a pinch
1 1/4C warm milk (100F)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4t salt
1 large egg
1/4t vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg
3 3/4 to 4C all-purpose flour

Swirl
1T white sugar
2t cinnamon
2t cocoa powder
3T unsalted butter, softened

Put the yeast, pinch of sugar and 1/4C milk in a small bowl. Let rest for 3 minutes. The yeast may not have bubbled but it should be soft.

Place 1C milk, butter and 1/4C sugar into mixer bowl. Using paddle attachment, mix on speed 2 for two minutes. Add salt, egg, vanilla and nutmeg. Mix for another minute. The mixture will look rather “curdly”. Add the yeast mixture and mix on Speed 3 for a minute. Add 2 3/4C flour while the mixer is off, then stir just until combined.

Using the dough hook, add 1C flour and beat the dough for 2-3 minutes on speed 2. Add flour 1T at a time until the dough cleans sides of bowl.

Once that happens, knead the dough on speed 2 for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and has a sheen to it.

Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl, turning the dough inside the bowl; then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a draft-free place until dough doubles in size; about 1 1/2 hours. (Optional: To help the bread rise, boil a pot of water and place it in the oven. Put the covered bowl on a rack above the pot of water. Keep oven door closed.)

Once risen, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. If you plan to bake that same day, freeze the dough for 30 minutes. If you plan to bake it later, refrigerate the dough overnight.

When ready to bake, prepare the swirl by whisking together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12×18″ rectangle. Using your fingers, smear 2T of the butter onto the dough. Then sprinkle the sugar mixture on top.

Roll the dough tightly, starting from the short side. Fit dough into greased loaf pan, seam side down and tuck the ends under.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. Let the dough rise about 45 minutes.

Once risen, melt the rest of the butter and brush top of loaf. Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then cover loosely with foil and bake another 25 minutes (or until inner bread temperature is 200F).

Let the pan cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack then remove from pan and cool loaf on wire racks.

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16 Replies to “My Quest to Bake Home-Made Bread”

  1. Thanks Gina! I will take a look through them. I am finding it difficult to find bread recipes that call for Active Dry Yeast and only yield one loaf. Halving the recipe just increases the chance of error.

  2. Awesome! YES, practice does make perfect. I’ve been exclusively making the bread in our house for over 2 years now and it gets easier the more you do it. You’ll also learn to tweak recipes to suit you. I have a few on my site, but none for just one loaf. Most bread machine recipes only yield one loaf – if you’re feeling brave enough to adapt them :)

    1. Thanks for the support Nicki! I don’t feel brave at all when it comes to adapting bread recipes just yet. I still get nervous halfing them as it is. I will keep that in mind about bread machine recipes. I’m sure I can figure something out!

  3. I just stumbled across your blog and thought I’d give you some advice lol from a newbie too! half/half white and wheat is just as easy as white bread, I haven’t quite worked up the courage to do all wheat yet!

    1. Thanks Jen! I have been experimenting with that very slowly. I substituted a cup of white flour for a cup of whole wheat and the cinnamon swirl still came out great! I plan to increase the whole wheat flour each time. Glad to hear that 50/50 works well! I definitely like having some wheat in there!

  4. Whole wheat absorbs more liquid than white flour does, and so it is very easy to add too much flour. You also need to knead it longer because the gluten in it is natural and not artificially added like it is with the white flour. However, if you knead it well, and use only about 3/4 cups wheat for the equivalent cup of white, you should come out better. Also, be careful on very humid days…it is easy to keep adding flour because the dough ends up sticky, but stick to your recipe that works, and it will rise well. Find someone in your area that bakes wheat bread and ask for their recipe. I had to change mine when I went from a high elevation to a low one. Send me an email if you have more questions. I actually taught a class on making wheat bread and have a handout I could send you if you are interested. Best wishes and happy baking!!

  5. Wow, this is awesome. I had the same experience as you did, but the difference is, I didn’t pursue ’til I get it done, you just inspire me to try it again. I used bread flour before, are they the same with all purpose flour?

  6. I have been baking bread for my family for a total of 3 days now, lol. But they love it so much more and its so much cheaper that this is the way I’m going for here on out. So far I’ve only done white but it is so soft and delicious I was amazed. Next I am going to do wheat and some different flavors. But I’m using a bread machine and all I have to do is put the ingredients in and push a button. I made bread years ago in the oven and it was good but nothing like this. I got the machine fr Goodwill for $10. The bread recipe I’ve been using is 1pkg of dry active yeast, 1 cup of warm water, 3tbs white sugar. Let it sit in the machine for 10-15 min then add 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 tbs salt, 1/4 c oil or melted butter. Press the button and in 3 1/2 hrs voila! Happy baking.

  7. Questions about the dough (making it last longer).
    Could you make the dough and freeze it for use another day?
    Could you keep the dough in the fridge for 3-4 days, then use it, since it’s refrigerator dough?

    1. I am not sure about freezing the dough itself but you can freeze the actual loaf after it is baked. It will last in the freezer for a few months. You can definitely keep the dough in the fridge for a few days in the loaf pan. I have left it in there for 24 hours without any problems. I imagine, several days would be just fine!

  8. I’m subbing for a Grade 9 class and forgot to refridgerate the dough, for the cool rise bread recipe. It has been rising at room temperature for 18 hours, I just put it in the fridge. Some of the doughs smell like yeast. Should I make the dough again?

    1. Refrigerating dough slows down the process so you can leave it in there for a longer period of time. Yeast is most active when it’s warm (but not too hot) so dough rises faster at room temperature. If there are not eggs in the dough, you can still try baking it even though it’s been out for a while. It may be tough, or expire quickly, but it’s worth baking it at this point. If you’re going to throw it out anyway, might as well bake it first and dsee how it turns out. Putting it in the fridge now will slow down the process.

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