One of the most comforting and inviting smells on a cold winter afternoon is freshly baked bread. The smell grabs right onto your olfactory senses and magically transports you to a very cozy place. Making your own bread may seem intimidating if you haven’t ever tried it, but I am here to tell you that it’s easy. With a little elbow grease and some pretty basic ingredients you can impress your family with fresh baked bread all winter long.
Now, the most important thing to remember when making bread is to relax and find a nice clean surface large enough to make your bread while not making a huge mess. I clear my counter completely whenever I make bread so I have plenty of room to work. Make sure you have measuring cups and spoons a large mixing bowl and a heavy wooden spoon. Having these items on hand will definitely make the process easier. I also recommend getting all of the ingredients out and in a spot that is easy to access. Once you start mixing, your hands will be messy so measuring your ingredients ahead of time is highly recommended.
When choosing a recipe, remember that baking is science. Therefore sometimes a formula (recipe) may not be perfectly written. Variables such as the water and your oven will change the way your bread turns out. Nothing to fear. The worst thing that will happen is your bread isn’t perfect. Adapt your recipe or try a different one until you find something you love. If your bread turns out perfect the first time you attempt it, way to go! If not, try try again and I promise you will get the hang of it. You may even want to take your own notes and re-write a recipe as you go.
Replacing liquids, and types of flour or fat will allow you to experiment and find something that works for you. Try almond milk in place of cow’s milk and olive oil in place of melted butter for a vegan bread recipe. If you are gluten-free there are a number of options available to replace the flour with. The most important things to consider when adapting a bread recipe are not to overheat the yeast, follow the steps in the same order, and work your dough to consistency without being afraid to add more flour if needed.
Here is a very basic bread recipe for you to use as a canvas. Enjoy!