I don't always make my own bread but this weekend I did because I love to bake this time of year and I also wanted to share my Mom's recipes with you. Bread baking isn't really that hard and once you bake one and smell that hot fresh bread baking in the oven, you get hooked!
Home Baked Bread
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast...
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees but no warmer than 115 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast with a quarter cup of the lukewarm water and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
In a large bowl of electric mixer, or by hand, mix the sugar, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Add the yeast and mix in until well blend. If using a mixer, attach a dough hook, and add flour until dough starts to form. If too sticky, add a bit more flour. Mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.
Turn out onto flat surface and knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put dough into an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with a thick towel, and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in size. Usually takes about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn out onto large cookie sheet that has been dusted with corn meal. Shape into 2 oblong loaves and then cover and let rise again for 40 minutes. Loaves will then double in width.
In a small dish, add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water. Slit tops of risen bread 3 or 4 times, making slits that are a quarter of an inch deep. With a brush, paint tops with egg wash. Bake 400 degrees for 40 minutes, until golden and baked through. To check if it’s done, thump the bottom of each loaf; if it sounds hollow, it’s done.
Makes two loaves. One for now and one to freeze for later!
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