I apologize in advance for the number of photos in this post; if you are on dial-up, I suggest you skip this post and come back tomorrow. I also apologize for the quality of photos here; I am a very poor photographer.
Last month I wrote a post answering some of your questions about making bread and at the end, I promised a step-by-step photo demonstration on how I make bread. Well, here it is. This is my version of a tutorial on making sandwich bread. I’ve had to divide the post up in two parts because it’s so long, so look for Part 2tomorrow.
The recipe and directions without photos for my wheat sandwich bread can be found here.
First, you want to assemble your ingredients, wheat and unbleached all-purpose flour, instant yeast, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. I’m making a Weight-Watches friendly sandwich bread today, so I’m using fat-free milk, SmartBalance buttery spread, and Splenda. You can (and probably should) use real butter and sugar, and 1-2% milk.
In a large, microwave-safe measuring cup, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Heat until warm but not hot, about 110 to 120 degrees. A digital thermometer (can be purchased at any large grocery store or super store) makes measuring temperatures very easy.
Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the milk mixture.
Once all the milk has been added, turn the mixer to medium and mix for 3 minutes until it’s smooth and runny. It should look like this:
Are you nervous? This is what most people fear when it comes to making bread. Kneading is not difficult! It just takes time, patience, and a little practice.
Start at the top of your dough ball: fold the top part down about half way to the middle.
Tip: Don’t be overly gentle with your bread! Wheat bread especially, can be fairly tough and you will need some to use your strength to push the bread down. Remember: fold, push, turn, fold, push, turn. Get into a rhythm and kneading will become very simple.
You want to knead for about 5 minutes. If you were cautious and didn’t add that much flour and choose to knead it in instead, you may need to knead for longer, closer to 10 minutes. When you think you have kneaded enough, give your bread a little poke. If the indentation your finger left fills in quickly, then it’s ready to rise. If the indentation is a little slow to fill in, keep kneading. Check every minute or so to see if it’s ready.
Allow your bread to rise for 1 hour.
Tomorrow we’ll pick up here with more on rising and then we’ll cover shaping and baking.
Is this helpful to you? Do you feel more comfortable with the beginning part of the bread making process now?