Basic Bread Dough
Bread is so versatile. You can serve it with soup, with the main course, you can make sandwiches with it or enjoy simply with a spread like butter or jam, or both.There are many kinds of bread and different ways to make them. But did you know that you can make endless loaves and rolls using one basic bread dough recipe?
- Pour one cup lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over it. Leave for 10 minutes.
- Add the salt, sugar and vegetable oil to the yeast mixture. Stir. Add ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ¾ cup bread flour. Mix.
- The dough will be wet and sticky at this point. Add the rest of the flour. Mix.
- The texture of the dough will be uneven at this point but it will start to come together.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Gather into a ball and start kneading. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle with some flour but do so sparingly as adding too much flour will result in a hard and very dense bread.
- Use the inside of your wrist to push and stretch the dough away from you. Roll it back towards you and keep repeating the process. After five minutes of kneading, the dough will be a smoother. Keep kneading until the dough feels elastic.
- Feeling the elasticity may take some practice but here’s a tip. Pinch a small part of the dough — if it feels like pinching your earlobe, it’s time to stop kneading. Usually, 10 minutes of kneading is enough to achieve this texture.
- Brush the inside of a bowl lightly with oil. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it around to coat the entire surface with oil.
- Cover the bowl. If your bowl does not come with its own cover, use cling wrap. Place the bowl in a dark place — away from draft and direct light — to make the dough rise. I like to do this inside the oven with the heat off, naturally.
- After an hour and a half to two hours, the dough should have risen. From my experience, the dough doubles after an hour. I like to leave it for another half hour to one hour to allow it to triple in size. The bread turns out softer that way.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Cut and shape into whatever kind of bread you wish to make, then leave to rise a second time. How long the second rising should be depends on the kind of bread your’re baking. As a general rule, 30 to 45 minutes should do it.
The given recipe will yield 24 to 30 bread rolls or two medium-sized loaves.
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