First Time Making Bread

by Ronnie
(Toms Brook, VA)

Let me first begin by saying that I am a single dad of 4 kids trying to cut corners and become self sufficient. This is the story of the first attempt at baking bread, the "Easy Recipe" found in this forum.

I would give myself a C+ overall. The aroma was great. The bread even tasted wonderful. There were a couple of discoveries that may have contributed to the low grade.

The biggest problem I encountered was that the dough didn't seem to rise to twice the size. The final version was about half of the loaf in the pictures. Again, it tasted great. It just looks more like a cake in height.

The variables seem to be, yeast, water temperature, and the KitchenAid. I used yeast packets instead of yeast from a jar. The packets equate to 2 1/4 teaspoons and the recipe calls for 2 1/2.

Not enough yeast?

I heated the water to a point that I could comfortably put my finger in it. I now have a liquid thermometer.

The final variable was the mixer. When I was emptying the dough from mixer's bowl, the bottom of the bowl still had dry flower in it. How do you get all of the ingredients to mix? This may have had something to do with the lack of rise from the dough if more of the yeast was left in the bottom.

Anyway, all in all it wasn't that bad. I have since purchased items to remove the variables of water temperature. I am going to try again tomorrow. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have attached a picture of the finished product.



Comments for First Time Making Bread

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Mar 12, 2011
not enough dough,
by: Anonymous

How much dough did you use? I'd say there is only one way to find out :) if it was soft and tasted great you're probably right.
good luck!

Mar 11, 2011
single dad making bread
by: Anonymous

Ronnie, you did great and I bet the kids thought so too.

Feb 21, 2011
Hope it Helps
by: Anonymous

this recipe was never written down for me; it's done by sight and smell, but here goes .....

4 cups flour
1tbs salt
1tbs sugar
1tsp(or one packet) dry yeast
1 2/3 warm water
1/3 olive oil
1tbs of whiskey or bourbon (this will make the bread last about 3 days)

Knead or use dough mixer till ball forms and sides of mixing bowl is clean (I usually add more flour or water depending on what is needed) to achieve a clean bowl, then cover bowl with a towel and a plastic bag. (Now the tricky part) if your kitchen is over 70 you can let it sit out; in summertime I usually put it out on the porch in the sun. Otherwise, boil a pot of water, stick it in your oven (which is not on) along with the bowl of dough for about 5 hours. If it's dead winter and really cold in your kitchen switch out the water half way through that time. Once your dough is doubled in size, take it out, punch it down and transfer to a greased bread pan or roll into dinner rolls or sub rolls. Cover back up and put back into the warm area. Let sit for 1 to 2 hours. Once this is done and you were using the oven for dough proofing take every thing out and preheat your oven to 350, bake for about 30min ..... every oven is different...... after a few times baking this bread you will be able to smell when it is done... as soon as it's done remove the bread from the pan and wrap in a towel. If you are trying to keep it fresh for longer, throw a plastic bag around the bread and towel; it's called sweating the bread. I usually keep it in this form if we are not eating the bread right away.

Variations: you can add garlic, cheese, olives, tomatoes, jalapeños or whatever your mind can conjure up. It is pretty flexible dough...also you can make flat bread, foccacia, dinner rolls, or fry rolls of the dough for sloppy joes, and bread sticks.

I don't think this is necessary but you can do an egg wash before baking to bring out the color, but the color is quite golden already

This all sounds like a lot but it is practically effortless once you know what to do. If you want to, I could just come and show you how to do it....good luck!

Feb 20, 2011
a couple of things to try
by: Melody D.

If you have access to white whole wheat flour (white hard winter wheat), that would be worth a try...I find it makes for a better (and better tasting IMO) rising bread.

You can also try adding vital wheat gluten to the recipe. Usually it's about 1 TBS per cup of flour. Instant yeast is also the only thing I'll use in my breads...I find it's less picky on the temperature of the dough and water. I buy that stuff by the pound and you can find it online or I've even seen it at Sam's Club.

If you trade out about 2/5ths of your wheat flour for white flour you can get away from using gluten as an additive.

Also you can't over knead wheat bread easily so after you let the kitchen aid have a go at it, I'd dump whatever is left and hand knead it a few times to work it all in. Personally I don't use a machine any more, but it should work fine either way. Another trick that I use is that I'll mix my recipe (for me with a wood spoon) minus the last cup of flour and then add in the last cup as I knead the dough out. I'd bet if you did that in the kitchen aid you wouldn't have the remaining flour in the bottom anymore.

Good luck and keep trying. Nothing is quite better smelling or tasting than homemade breads

Feb 20, 2011
by: Anonymous

Make sure and check the freshness date on the yeast packets. Unlikely to be your problem since on this first attempt you probably bought yeast for the first time.

Feb 20, 2011
Not Enough Dough?
by: Ronnie

I've been wondering if I baked the bread right all along and instead should have used one pan instead of two.

Maybe there wasn't enough dough for two pans.

Any ideas?

Feb 20, 2011
Congrats on Your First Try
by: Sue Merriam


You're way too hard on yourself. And if I were to assign a grade I'd give you an A+ for:

  1. Making your own bread from scratch, including grinding your own flour, and

  2. Producing a bread that everyone wanted to eat.

My first attempt at baking bread was awful; it was a tough brick no one wanted to eat, and I still botch a recipe every once in a while, although not a much as I used to. Seriously, you did great!

As far as this batch went, I think you didn't have enough flour in your recipe and also way too much water. And yes, the recipe only makes one loaf of bread and not two. I do apologize for the confusion.

Making bread is an art that takes practice, but the important thing is to enjoy the end result, even if it doesn't look picture perfect. As long as you and the kids enjoyed it, don't worry about how it looks, and keep on baking!

Your dough needs to be soft, but not sticky. If it is sticky, then you need to add more flour. Also, you may need to adjust the way your beater is sitting in the bowl. If it's sitting too high, then it won't collect all the flour, but at the same time you don't want the beater to be constantly banging against the bowl. The instructions that came with your mixer should tell you how to adjust it.

Thanks for sharing your bread baking story!


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