I've been asked for my bread recipe. Awesome.
Full disclosure: I initially got the recipe from The Simple Dollar. Hers has pictures, and for a baking noob like me, it was invaluable. Now that I know what each step is supposed to look like, I don't need the pictures, so I typed it up. I also made some variations with the ingredients, but not many. It's a great recipe, and please go over to Simple Dollar and tell her so! I did :).
Super Easy Homemade Bread
Get a big glass bowl. Fill with hot water, and then dump it out. Warm bowls make for good bread.
In warm bowl:
Dissolve 1 packet of yeast in 1 cup warm water
Soften 5 tsp of butter in the microwave, add to yeast/water
Add 1-1/2 tbsp cup sugar and
1 tsp salt
Stir that until it's a nice shade of beige.
Add a cup of flour, and stir. The dough will be sticky. Keep stirring. Add another cup of flour. Keep stirring, and pay attention to the consistency of the bread--it will become stretchy. Keep stirring, have one more cup of flour on deck, and add it slowly. You may or may not add that last whole cup. Bread is fickle.
Generously sprinkle some flour on the counter.
When the dough is in a nice ball, and doesn't stick to your hands or the spoon too much (you'll know), take it out of the bowl. Put the bowl in the sink, fill with soap & water. You'll need that bowl to be clean in a few minutes.
Check the clock, note the time. Beat the crap out of the bread (classy people call this "kneading") for 10 minutes. If it sticks to itself, the counter, or you, add more flour. When 10 minutes are up, it should be a nice, pliable ball.
Wash and dry the bowl. Spray the inside (duh…) with some cooking spray. Plop the dough in it and cover with a nice clean cloth. Let it rise for an hour.
After an hour has passed, the dough has possibly doubled or more, or not. Don’t sweat it. It’s fine. Take it out of the bowl, and put it on your (still floured) counter. Work it into a rectangle that’s as wide as your bread pan and about twice as long. Roll it up, put it into your bread pan (did you spray that will Pam? You should do that…), tucking the ends under.
Cover it with your cloth again for another hour. Go clean up your kitchen and put stuff away.
After the 2nd rise, put it in a 400* oven for 30 minutes. When it’s done, take it out of the pan immediately, or it will keep cooking (trust me).
I use Sugar In The Raw, about a 2:1 ratio of Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour and whole wheat flour, and real sweet cream butter. You can also add fresh herbs (dill! chives! rosemary!) to the flour as you stir it in. If you're feeling fancy, sprinkle grated cheese over the rectangle of bread before you roll it up and put it in the pan.