Homemade bread is one of the easiest things to learn to made. We are in the midst of a pandemic. It’s crazy out there right now, and while I can’t teach you how to make all of the “panic buying” essentials, bread is one of the easiest things you can make yourself in these uncertain times.
The stores are insane. I haven’t actually been out for over a week to see the exact status of things, but the last time I was out, they were out of so many things. I couldn’t find toilet paper, potatoes, bread or even a single jar of spaghetti sauce. While I can’t teach you how to grow your own toilet paper (but there are some people online teaching how to make and use “reusable” TP. Look it up! I’m not doing it, but check it out if you want.) I can give you the recipe and tools to bake your own bread, grow your own potatoes, and even make your own spaghetti sauce.
Homemade bread is not a luxury in our home. I try to make it as much as possible when I have time. The recipe below makes two loaves, and if you don’t need both, you can bake and freeze the second, or freeze the dough for later. I love the smell of bread baking in the oven, so I typically freeze the second loaf in dough form.
Homemade bread is so much better, in my opinion than the storebought stuff. It’s fluffy. It smells amazing. You can cut it however you choose. It’s yummy for peanut butter sandwiches or grilled cheese. Even just a slice with a hot bowl of soup is amazing.
So stop stressing the trips to the store when essentials are sold out. Tell those crazy people to have their crappy bread while you stay home and bake and eat the good stuff.
Traditional Homemade Bread
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups very warm water 120°F to 130°F
- Butter or margarine melted
- Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
- Grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans, 9x5x3 or 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches.
- Punch down dough and divide in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into a rectangle, 18×9 inches, on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side, to form a loaf. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. (*Freeze at this point wrapped in plastic wrap, if baking later.) Place seam side down in a pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter. Cover and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until double.
- Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 425°F.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; cool.
- *To make frozen dough later, remove dough from the freezer. Unwrap and place in prepared pan, as above. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Remove to a warm place and allow to rise until doubled. Bake as directed above.