Ah, fresh baked bread. The very smell of which permeates our senses, ensnaring our minds and drawing us almost inexplicably towards the source. On that note, Here's my guide to how to bake bread, without sight.
First, decide which kind of bread you're going to bake. Will it be rustic or sophisticated? Will it have seeds, spices, nuts or fruit? Will it be buns or a loaf? Okay, let's begin.
First, please wash your hands and your counter and utensils. Rinse in hot water and allow them to cool. I don't want you to get sick.
Grab the following:
1/2-1 stick of butter (either salted or unsalted, doesn't matter either way
1/2-1 cup milk
2-3 tablespoons sugar, honey, etc. No splenda, aspartame, the yeast need food.
Warm water about body temperature.
A loaf tin,
a wooden or food-grade spoon,
a mixing bowl
Flour please, this is important! You're welcome to use bread flour, but I use all-purpose flour to good results.
Your optional ingredients, if any.
Please note that if you're using oatmeal, you can use it to replace up to 1/3 of the flour with the oatmeal before needing to adjust the amount of liquid
in the recipe
Okay, let's go.
Measure the flour into a bowl. Melt the butter and mix with the milk, ensuring that both are at body temperature. Proof the yeast by dissolving it into the warm water for about five-ten minutes with the sugar, (do this whilst melting the butter and milk) Add the yeasty water into the flour, then the milk and butter. Stir, stir stir. Add more [flour, make sure that the dough begins to pull away a bit from the sides of the bowl.
Pull it out, begin to knead, beat the hell out of it. Do this for about ten minutes. Keep going, I know your arms are tired. Once the dough feels elastic], toss it into the washed (you did rewash the bowl, didn't you?) and greased bowl, put the lid on if it has one and put it in a warm draft-free spot for about an hour. When it's doubled in volume, take it out, and lift it up. Be careful here, you don't want to knead it a second time. You want to carefully squish the air out. Not all of it but a good portion of it, I'd say maybe 95 percent.
Roll it into a rough cylinder and tuck the ends down as best you can. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect. Put it seam-side down in a greased loaf pan.
(note: if, for some reason the loaf becomes too long for the pan, i.e you rolled it too long, make a French loaf, on a cookie sheet. Don't try a loaf tin method. I did and for some reason half my loaf stuck to the pan and I ended up making bread pudding.)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the pan over one of the heat outlets on the top of the stove if yours does that, i.e if one of the burners gets warm when you use the oven, put it on that one.
When the dough has risen to just above the rim of the pan, put it in the middle rack for exactly 35 minutes. Pull it out and cool on its side on a wire rack.
If you decide to use optional ingredients, either add them in the very beginning, or roll them up into the dough to make a swirly effect.
Starsong's sandwich bread
Makes one loaf
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup [butter) unsalted
3-1/4 to 3-3/4 flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 envelope yeast
Melt the butter and combine with the milk. Add the Yeast, water, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend well. Add 2 cups of the flour stir with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and butter if they're cool enough. Add 1-1/4 cup of the flour, stir and turn onto lightly floured countertop and start kneading Keep kneading, adding in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if it's needed depending on the conditions for the day. Put into greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth or the bowl's lid and put in a warm place for about an hour or so, until it's doubled in bulk.
Lift the huge mass of dough out, and carefully squish all the air out. Roll into a loaf, place in a greased loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Place again in a warm spot, covered with a cloth. Once the dough has reached just above the pan rim it's ready. Slide it in for 35 minutes, then pull it out and thump it good. If it sounds hollow, it's ready. Cool on it's side on a wire rack.