Making bread is such a simple and relaxing task. Well, at least it is in my opinion. Today, I thought I’d share the recipe that I use when I bake my own perfect-for-toast bread.
1 c. warm water
1 package active rise yeast
2 to 3-1/2 c. of flour (bread flour works best)
1/4 c. soy milk
1-1/2 tbsp. margarine
1-1/2 tbsp. sugar
Canola oil or cooking spray (to coat the bowl and pan with)
• Yeast and warm water- you’ll want to add the 1 c. water and package of yeast in a large bowl and stir until all of the yeast is dissolved. The water should end up being a light brown color. If you’re yeast is working correctly, you should also see some bubbles on the surface of the water.
• Everything except the flour- melt the margarine and then add to the water and yeast mixture. Also add the sugar and milk to this bowl as well. Stir well, until the sugar is dissolved.
• Time for the flour- Add only 2 c. at this point. Stir everything together until there are no visible flour clumps in the bowl. Once you’ve gotten that far, slowly add 1/4 to 1/2 c. of additional flour at a time until you have a dough that doesn’t stick to the spoon too much (although you want to make sure you don’t have too much flour, as well).
• You need to knead- take the dough out of the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for eight to ten minutes, really making sure you’re getting the dough worked thoroughly.
• Rest and rise- line another bowl lightly with cooking oil and spray it with cooking spray. This will keep your ball of dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl as it rises. Make sure you roll the dough around inside the bowl to get the outside of the dough itself covered. Let sit, covered with a damp dish cloth, for an hour in a warm place.
• Punch, roll, and rise- after your dough has roughly doubled in size, punch it down back to the original size. Then, take it out of the bowl, flatten it out into a square, and roll it into a cylinder, roughly the length of your bread pan. Coat your bread pan with a light film of oil to help the finished product avoid sticking to the pan. Place the dough in the bread pan, cover it with a damp dish cloth, and leave it to rise again for another hour.
• Bake- preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then place your bread pan on the middle rack. Allow to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, depending on your oven. Once it is done baking, allow it to cool completely before slicing. I find that taking the bread out of the pan and placing it on a cooling rack helps to speed up this step slightly.
And now, enjoy!