There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread wafting through my house as it bakes early on a Saturday morning. Making bread from scratch use to scare me until my parents bought me a bread machine. Don’t worry, this post is NOT about baking bread in a bread machine but it is unfortunately how I started to learn how to make bread.
There is something gratifying and therapeutic about making homemade bread. I don’t think I’ve bought a loaf of store bought bread for about 3 years – it is just that good!
The big differences that you will find with homemade bread vs. store bought bread are taste and shelf life. The taste of homemade bread is out of this world and is probably one of the most comforting tastes you can have when a warm slice has been cut and smeared with butter…just heavenly! The other difference as I said, is shelf life. Fresh bread only lasts a few days before it starts to dry out and you need to find other uses for it, such as croutons or bread crumbs.
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is one I use all the time and use it for a variety of different things, such as crescent rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, as well as simple white sandwich bread. The reason that I like the recipe is because it makes either 2 loaves of bread or a loaf and 6 buns or 12 buns – whatever your need is.
Bread loaves and buns
Here is what you will need:
- 2 cups of warm milk
- 1 tbsp of yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp of soft butter
- 1 egg, 4 – 5 cups of flour
- 2 tsp of salt
How to make the bread:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer stir together milk, yeast, sugar and left proof for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, egg, butter and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed to combine. Add two more cups of flour and mix until the dough is soft but not sticky or stiff and starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer.
- Place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes. In the first picture above, I took each half, separated and shaped them into three balls (three balls per dough half) and placed them into the prepared pans.
- Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
If you have a bread machine and it has a dough setting, you can place all the ingredients in the bread machine and set it to the dough setting and it will prepare the dough up until just after the first rise. After that, you can then punch down the dough, knead, shape it and prepare it for the second rise in your bread pans. I like doing this because it allows me the time to walk away and do other things without worry, especially if I have a very busy morning and still need to bake my bread for the week.
I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!