Here's How To...

Bake Bread

When we make bread, we participate in the same alchemy as countless generations before us who used the carbon dioxide produced by tiny yeast cells digesting carbohydrates to make bread, and used the alcohol they make to create beer and wine. We've been at it so long, it is likely part of our genetic code.

Basic Bread Dough

3 - 3 ½ cups unsifted flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
2 Tablespoons soft butter 
1¼ cups very hot water (105–115°F)

Measure and combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved
dry yeast in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add butter. Add very hot water slowly to the dry ingredients.

Beat the mixture for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in more flour to make a soft dough.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 45–60 minutes.

Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Knead dough until it is smooth. The dough is then ready to shape and bake.

Artisan Bread

Most artisan breads are variations on the Basic Bread Dough recipe. Making a Honey, Raisin and Rosemary Bread, for instance, begins with mixing together flour, sugar, salt and then adding yeast.

In a separate bowl, mix together a ½ cup honey and 
½ stick of butter. Heat in a microwave or over low heat so the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in a cup of buttermilk and 2 eggs. Add this to the flour mixture and stir.

Add enough flour to make a ball of dough, but instead of covering and allowing to rise, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead in the flavoring ingredients - raisins, walnuts, rosemary - one at a time.

After kneading, place the dough in a well oiled bowl and turn over so that the top is greased as well as the bottom. Cover with parchment, wax paper, or a clean kitchen towel and lket rise in a draft-free location for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape into two bread loaves and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Let rise 30 minutes to an hour,  then bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and serve warm.
Quick Bread
Quick Breads
by Beatrice Ojakangas
University of Minnesota Press, 2003

Quick breads are loaves that need no kneading or time to rise. They are leavened with baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. As such, they can be concocted in 10-15 minutes and be fully cooked and on the table in less than an hour. That's quick indeed!

The 60 or so recipes in this small book are mostly for breads and coffee cakes that require little fuss or preparation. The selections are divided into Tea Breads; Dark and Rich Breads; Stick, Rolls, and Corn Breads; Old-Fashioned Coffee Cakes; Holiday and Ethnic Cakes. There's also a section of Spreads for Breads that includes recipes and instructions for making spreads like Savory Herbed Cheese, Spiced Honey, and Whipped Spiced Amaretto Butter.

Look here to find a Fruited Apple or Cheddar Date Nut bread for holiday parties, a Finnish Barley Bread for breakfast toast, or a classic Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake. Also featured are recipes for Boston Brown Bread, Quick Sally Lunn, Caraway Beer Bread, Zucchini Walnut Bread, Date Nut Bread, Yankee Corn Bread, German Stollen, Scandinavian Jukelage, Hot Pepper and Bacon Corn Bread, and more.


Artisan Breads at Home
Artisan Breads at Home

The Bread Baker's Apprentice
The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread


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