Bread Making 101

Today I’m helping you learn how to make three simple and delicious bread recipes. From my No-Knead Overnight Bread to my easy make, no yeast required, Griddle Flat bread and finally the perfect All Purpose Bread Dough. I have all the bases covered for you and a few ways to bring additional flavor into the recipes as well.

No Knead Overnight Bread

If you have my cookbook, you have seen this recipe on page 31. In addition, I created a blog post and recipe about No-Knead Overnight Bread and I added a few tips on how to bring herbs, spices, olives and dried fruit to the recipe. You can find that recipe here.

 

Griddle Flatbread

When I’m camping with my family, I love to pull this recipe out and quickly cook a stack of flatbread. I can use my Blackstone Griddle or my trusty 12’ Lodge cast-iron skillet or cast-iron griddle. The flavor is like Navajo fry bread or the traditional Indian bread naan, which is served along delicious curry dishes. You can find the recipe here.

Sandwich Bread

In my home when I make bread, there is a moment when the scent of that sweet yeast bread baking in the oven calls everyone out of their rooms. The question that follows is, “is the bread ready yet?”  The hour or so long wait time to cut into the bread is awful around here. It’s like being in the car with the are we there yet question being asked over and over and over.

This basic bread dough recipe is from my 8th grade home economics class. I’m not joking, I have been carrying this recipe around with me for over 30 years. Why? Because it works, its simple, and it was the first successful loaf of bread I made so it’s the best. Over the years I have added unbleached whole wheat flour, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and loved the results. I’ve taken that bread dough and made dinner rolls,  cinnamon rolls, and pizza dough. The printable version of this recipe is here.

 

All-Purpose Bread Dough

Ingredients

1 packet active dry yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey

1/2 cup warm water 105-110 degrees F

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water or milk, room temperature

2 Tablespoons canola, vegetable or sunflower oil

Instructions

  1. In a measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water together and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. It will be foamy and bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, add your flour and salt, mix well and set aside.
  3. Once the yeast is proofed, pour it into the flour along with the additional water or milk and then add the oil. Gently mix the dough with a spoon or a dough whisk until a rough ball forms.
  4. Kneading dough: add a light layer of flour on the counter or other flat surface like a large wooden cutting board or bread board. Place the dough on the floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with a bit of flour.
  5. Gently knead by pressing the heel of your hand into the dough and then folding it over and rotating the dough. Only add additional flour if the dough is wet or very sticky. Knead for about 5 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Grease a clean bowl with about 2 teaspoons of oil, the same you used in the recipe, cover all the bowls surface.
  7. Add the bread dough to the greased bowl and turn over to coat all sides. Place a warm, damp towel over the top of the bowl and allow dough to rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  8. Once the dough has risen, you have a choice to make. Do you make two loaves of bread, pinch off 48 bread rolls, roll out the dough for cinnamon rolls or freeze the dough? The directions to each of those suggestions are below.

Bread Loaves

Grease two bread loaf pans with oil or cooking spray, set aside.

Once dough has risen, gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough into two pieces. Softly pat the dough into a rectangle shape, if the bread resists just let it rest for an additional 5 minutes and try again.

Once you have your rectangle shape gently roll the bread dough into a log shape with your hands, rolling from the short end of the rectangle. Place the bread roll in the greased pan and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn your oven to 350 degrees F while the bread dough is rising.

Bake for 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads an internal temperature of 195-200 degrees F. Take the bread out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, place the loaf on a cooling rack and continue to cool for 2 hours before slicing.

Cinnamon Rolls

Grease a sheet pan, rectangular pan or pie pans (2) with softened butter and set aside.

After the bread dough has risen the first time, lightly flour your counter or work surface. Turn out the dough onto the floured counter and dust the top of the dough with a bit of flour.

Flour your rolling pin as well and roll out the bread dough into a rectangular shape that is ¼ inch thick.  Once rolled out, allow dough to rest for 5 minutes while you assemble the next ingredients.

Melt ½ cup unsalted butter set aside. In a bowl add 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, mix well and set aside.

With a pastry brush, spread the melted butter all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the buttered dough.

Begin rolling the bread dough from the long end until you reach the bottom of the dough rectangle, pinch the seam together and slice the cinnamon rolls to your likeness.

Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour or you can wrap the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. Plan to take the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge 1 hour before baking to come to room temperature.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until light brown and bubbly.

Bread Rolls

Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and grease with melted butter, oil or cooking spray, set aside.

After bread dough has completed the first rise, turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead gently for 30 seconds, squeeze out a golf ball size (2 inches) piece of dough between your thumb and index finger.

Place the dough ball on a parchment lined pan and continue to place the dough balls in rows, almost touching each other until the sheet pan is filled.

Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the rolls are golden brown.

Once rolls are out of the oven, melt 1/3 cup butter and brush over tops. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt, chopped fresh herbs or garlic to add additional flavor.

How to Freeze Dough

My home economics class all-purpose bread dough recipe freezes perfectly for later use following this set of instructions. After the first rise is complete, choose what recipe you will want and follow the instructions until the second rise. Once you reach the step for the second rise, that is where you will stop. Wrap your bread dough and its container with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

To thaw the frozen dough, remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Remove the thawed dough from the fridge and place it on the counter for an hour to come to room temperature,  then follow the baking instructions for your recipe.

Changing the Flavors Up

Wouldn’t it be perfect to add some herbs, garlic or olives to that no knead overnight bread? Or what about pecans to the cinnamon rolls? Substituting some unbleached flour for whole wheat flour would be perfect, don’t you think? Keep reading because I have the substitutions, and additions ready for you below.

  • Add in 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs or salt free seasoning to the flour and mix well.
  • Adding grated cheese to the dough for bread rolls is delicious. Add ½ cup shredded cheese to the flour and toss well to coat. Add in the liquid and proceeded to the next step of the directions.
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots or dates added to your cinnamon rolls, or bread dough will be delicious. Just add those ingredients to the flour, mix well to coat before adding the liquid.
  • Adding 1/2 cup of chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, and pine nuts add great texture to bread. Place the chopped nuts in the flour mixture, toss to coat before adding in the liquid.
  • Roll bread dough into a rectangular shape. Spread about  ½ cup of pesto sauce over the surface of the on the dough.Next roll and shape as per the bread loaf instructions for a pesto swirl bread loaf.
  • Replace 1/2 cup of the unbleached flour with unbleached whole wheat, ground oatmeal, buckwheat or rehydrated grain cereal. Remember when replacing some of flour you may need to increase the rise time by 30 minutes.

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