Basic White Bread Recipe
“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”
’Housekeeping In Old Virginia’ Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878)
What a way to start a blog post. Don’t you just love reading old quotes and poems.
I am a self-taught bread maker and cook. There with that said.
I started making bread regularly about 10 years ago. I had made it a couple of times in my early adult life, but never understood certain principles. Like warmth. And how important it is for yeasts and cultures to grow. I learned in later years on ways of proving bread, I guess that is when I started to research and read books more, I really wanted to learn. And nothing was going to stop me.
I learned things like when you have no warm spots in your house, and winter is the hardest time to prove and get cultures going. That some people wrap their dough bowl up in a towel and put in a car that has sat in the sun. Or the pre-heat an oven to 50 degrees Celsius and the then turn it off and put it in the oven to prove, some people use heating pads for their yeasts and cultures, the kind that beer brewers put under their fermenters. Some people use electric blankets, or in front of the fire. This is something I have learned. Fortunately, I live in a small flat with a wood stove and is always warm enough for cultures, most of the time. There is an odd cool day, I just leave the dough for longer.
There is so much information out there on bread making these days. But the best way to learn is just to do it over and over. Even the best chefs and bakers make mistakes. I still make the odd brick or two.
I could have built a wall from the bricks that would come out of the bread maker. Especially when experimenting.
I became frustrated, and sick and tired of wasting food, so I started looking for other ways to knead bread. I was making a loaf every day. Google to the rescue, came a cross a Thermomix, that was 9 years ago. I have now upgraded to a Mycook Premium.
I wish that my mother could have had a machine like this when I was younger, she was so time poor and worked really hard. If she had a machine we would have had home-made bread instead of the stuff we got back then.
We used to go through a lot of bread, there was 7 of us.
Every Sunday night afternoon was lunch making time and what this would involve was making sandwiches for everyone including my dad and freezing them.
This was to save mum time through her week. This is where I learnt that I do not like frozen sandwiches, some things should never be frozen.
Now I can hear you asking what did she put in them.
We kids had things like sliced Belgium or Devon as it is called here in Australia, with home-made plum sauce or grated cheese and home made chow chow or baked beans or a cheap tinned fish and tomato, now that one was the worst to eat, it went soggy as, most of the sandwiches went soggy when thawed. Some things should never be frozen.
If I did not like the choices I had to make my own, which I did on many occasions. I would make things like lettuce and Vegemite in summer and I used the crusts of the bread. And guess what? I still make that, especially when traveling as it is a good food that keeps well while driving.
Dad would get fancy sandwiches, like cold mutton or chicken with chow chow and cake. His cake favorite was coffee, and favorite biscuit was coconut.
I never stepped inside of a bakery till I was in my teens. I can still remember that smell, that wonderful smell. Then fresh bread became an elusive thing.
But now, I have my own wood stove and my own means of making bread and I can have my own mini bakery.
And I can fill our shed up with the smell of wood fired bread, especially in winter. In the summer I use a small camp oven to bake in. It works surprisingly well.
I have had a lot of practice making bread, still have the odd dud, or two, but do not let these discourage you, the effort is really worth it.
You can use this basic recipe for a pizza base, make fancy shapes. Add in some seeds, the list is endless. Google recipes, buy second hand books. Read. It is such an entertaining subject to learn.
Another thing I have learned is if you can, let the bread cool if you can, just like you rest meat, rest the bread. I try for 15 minutes if I can. Depends if you can resist the temptation. But beware, making your own bread is addictive and certainly eating it is.
You can take it up a notch and invest in a grain mill like I did years ago, so you get the freshest of flours and all the fiber.
I have a video of it on my facebook and you tube channel.
The benefits of making your own bread, are:
- Saving money,
- No added chemicals,
- No preservatives,
- Life skills,
- It is a good hobby,
All the photos are from using the same bread recipe, just finished differently.
Please click on photos to view at full resolution.
In the jug of the Mycook Premium add water, oil and salt Set for 3 minutes at 40ºC on speed 2, the water will be at the correct temperature for the yeast.
Thoughts arise of home-baked bread
Set on hearthen coals bright red
Grain hulled on the threshing-floor
Coarse hands forming loaves of yore
Embers playful in quick flight
Whittled twigs shed glowing light
Hut now warm, its ceiling black
Worn dark coats hung on a rack
Somewhere in lost childhood’s fog
Barnyard swallows swoop by logs
On a languid summer morn
Lilacs back-door stairs adorn
Thick white curds and oats ground fine
Little ones in patient line
Waiting for a longed for treat
Mother offers ‘time to eat.’
Memories of those faded scenes
Now arise as old age leans
Strong and heavy on my bones
Easing loneliness and groans
Baking bread this afternoon
I recall harsh winds of doom
Tearing us from land and kin
Wiping out what might have been
Yet, like rising of fresh bread
Long lost memories soften dread
As I summon up those days
Plain and simple country ways
There’s a gift in home-baked bread
Eaten after prayers are said
Fragrant slices warm and soft
Keeping love and dreams aloft.
Liilia Talts Morrison