Who Doesn't Love Bread?

Question? Who Doesn't love bread? Italian, Crusty Artesian Bread, Oatmeal Bread and of course everyday bread. Yes, you can purchase any of these at your favorite bakery or store. But, there is nothing more satisfying than making your own bread. There is nothing like the smell in your home of bread baking in the oven. These are a few of my favorite homemade breads...I think you will agree once you try making your own bread.

If you are a novice at making bread, I think you'll find after making your first loaf that it's so much easier than you think. It's truly about technique, nothing more. I bet right now you have everything in your pantry to create some wonderful homemade baked bread! After scouring the internet for what I feel are the best videos on baking bread, I came up with a few I think you'll enjoy. I will intermingle them in this post.
#1 The Best Oatmeal Bread
Many years ago when I participated in many craft shows around the upper Midwest, I purchased a pottery bowl from another crafter. She had a recipe for her oatmeal bread that came with the pottery bowl.  I made the bread when I got back home and ever since then it has become one of my all time favorite breads.  It's very moist and the texture is wonderful. This bread can also be made in a regular bread pan. A great compliment to anything...
Oatmeal Bread
*This recipe makes 2 loaves of Oatmeal bread

Oatmeal Bread
Ingredients:
2 C. water
1 c. quick-cooking oats
3 T. margarine
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/3 C. warm water
1/2 tsp. honey
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups bread flour

Directions:
  1. Cook the oats, 2 cups water, and margarine for 1 minute.  Cool to lukewarm.  
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and honey. (The honey helps the yeast to bloom).
  3. Add cooled oat meal mixture to yeast mixture. Then add  sugar, salt and 4 cups of bread flour (1 cup at a time).  
  4. Knead in the rest of flour to form a stiff dough. 
  5. Oil a large bowl and turn bread dough in bowl to coat.   Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.  (Tip: I cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and place in an oven that I heated to 250 degrees, turned off, and then waited for about 15 minutes before I placed the bowl in the oven). 
  6. Punch down, cut in half for 2 loaves of  bread or cut into 18 rolls. 
  7. Place in greased bread pan for bread or greased cookie sheet for rolls.  Cover and let rise on counter for about 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 
You now have now made two loaves of beautiful "Homemade Oatmeal Bread"!
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Next on the list is "French Bread"...this recipe is the easiest and I feel the best I have ever used.
#2 French Bread  
I have included a video after the recipe for making "French Bread" by "The Stay At Home Chef"...I found that she makes her French bread just like I do...
French Bread
Ingredients:
2 1/4 C. warm water (105-110 degrees)
2 T. sugar
1 Pkg. Instant or Active Dry Yeast (1 packet = 1 T. yeast)
3/4 T. - 1 T. salt
2 T. olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil
5 1/2-6 C. all-purpose flour or bread flour (I use bread flour. I believe the texture is better)

Instructions:

1.   In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water sugar and yeast. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture bubble and foam before proceeding (this can take 3-5 minutes). If using instant yeast, proceed with the recipe (no need to let the yeast activate).

2.   Add the salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and mix. Add in 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour gradually. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and form a soft ball that doesn't leave a lot of dough residue on your fingers. Knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth. If the dough starts to cling to the sides of the bowl (or the center column if using a Bosch or other mixer with a center), add 1/4 cup of flour at a time until a sturdy but soft ball of dough forms.

3.   Rising Method 1: Leave the dough in the mixer, cover with a lid or towel, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Stir it down by turning on the mixer for 10 seconds or so. Repeat the "rest and stir down" cycle five more times.

4.   Rising Method 2: Instead of letting the dough rest for 10 minute spurts and then stirring it down, transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel or greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour or so, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

5.  Turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide in half. Pat each section into a thick rectangle, 9X13-inches or thereabouts (doesn't have to be exact). Roll the dough up starting from the long edge, pressing out any air bubbles or seams with the heel of your hand, and pinch the edge to seal. Arrange seam side down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I use separate baking sheets for each loaf). You can slash several gashes in the top of the bread now or wait until after it has risen (to avoid the risk of the bread deflating, especially if you don't have a very sharp razor or knife, slash now - see pictures above in the post for a visual).

6.  Cover with greased plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let the loaves rise until noticeably puffy and nearly doubled in size, about an hour.

7.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and make sure an oven rack is in the center position. If you haven't already, with a very sharp knife or baker's lame cut several gashes at an angle on the top of each loaf (see pictures above in the post for a visual).

8.  Optional: Place the baking sheet in the hot oven and immediately toss 3-4 ice cubes on the bottom of the oven (this gives a delicious, classic, French bread crispness to the crust). Close the oven door quickly.

9.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and baked through. Remove from the oven and slather with melted butter (optional, but delicious). Repeat with the 2nd loaf (or if you have convection setting, the loaves can bake at the same time, just rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking).

Here is a quick video from "The Stay At Home Chef" on making "French Bread". 
Her method is what I use.
     The Stay at Home Chef uses a French Bread pan. I have never used one, but plan on purchasing one for future use. They are made to have air circulate around the entire loaves of bread. I never knew...So, I learned something new today!  

      I'm sure you can purchase one of these at a kitchen tool supply store, but I found it on Amazon. Just click on the picture for more information. I actually was quite surprised how inexpensive they are. 
    
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#3 Everyday Homemade Bread 
This recipe also makes the best dinner rolls! Follow instructions completely. When you're done proofing the first time, cut the dough into 12 equal portions and form into balls and place in a cake pan covered in parchment or just butter the pan. Let rise for about an hour and bake as per the bread recipe. It should only bake for 15-20 minutes. Once you remove from the oven, brush with butter. They are excellent!
Everyday Bread
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 ounce active dry yeast* (1 packet)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (you may need as much as 4 1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
  1. Place the warm water and sugar in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.
  2. Add the butter and 2 cups of the flour, and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in an additional 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups of flour, along with the salt, mixing until the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Continue to knead, adding an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
  5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (30 to 45 minutes).
  6. Lightly mist a 5 cup loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  7. Punch down the dough and shape it into a loaf.
  8. Place the dough in the prepared pan, cover it loosely with greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (30 to 45 minutes).
  9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Uncover the dough and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
Recipe Notes
*Instant yeast may be substituted. Rise time may need to be reduced by 10 to 15 minutes. You'll know your dough is done rising when it has doubled in volume.

Here's another video that I found after searching through a lot of videos that I think explains the best method for making everyday bread.
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And here is one of my favorite breads...no knead Crusty Artisian Bread...So good and so extremely easy! I used another recipe that was pretty similar but found that Jenny Can Cook's recipe is much better. I have placed a video from Jenny's website to show just how easy this Crusty bread recipe is. 
 
Crusty Artesian Bread
Ingredients:

3 C. all-purpose or bread flour (aerate flour)
1/4 tsp. yeast, active dry or instant
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. hot water, not boiling. I use hot tap water - about 125-130 degrees F
About 2 T. extra flour for shaping

Directions:
  1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir in water until it’s well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours dough will become puffy and dotted with bubbles. Transfer it to a well-floured surface and sprinkle dough with a little flour. Using a scraper fold dough over 10-12 times & shape into a rough ball.
  4. Place in a parchment paper-lined bowl (not wax paper) and cover with a towel. Let stand on counter top for about 35 minutes.
  5. Meantime place Dutch oven with lid in a cold oven and preheat to 450° F. My oven takes 35 minutes to reach 450°. (My Dutch oven is 5 1/2 quart)
  6. When oven reaches 450° carefully, using oven gloves, lift the parchment paper and dough from the bowl and place gently into the hot pot. (parchment paper goes in the pot too) Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove lid and parchment paper. Return, uncovered, to oven and bake 10 - 15 more minutes. Let it cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
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This recipe and all crusty bread recipes require a cast iron pot to cook in. I purchased mine at Kohl's with a discount coupon. You can also purchase it on Amazon with free shipping if you have Prime.
Available in many colors

Here is the video for Crusty Bread from Jenny Can Cook. I love her recipes and how she explains everything and is a little humorous too!
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It is so much fun posting great recipes that I have tried and crafts that I have either made or have plans of making...very satisfying.

Here are a few more links to other Cafe' Hoffy posts that may interest you. If you would like to see more posts just click on "More Recipes" or "More Crafts"...you will be redirected to Cafe' Hoffy indexes for both...
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I also collect way to many "Pins" from Pinterest. I think I'm now officially the "Pinning Queen"...LOL! All my life I have been clipping coupons and magazine articles and things that interest me. When Pinterest got started, I finally kicked the clipping issue. Everything I was interested in in one place. How cool was that! 

So I now add a few pins that relate to my post just in case someone wants more ideas. You can visit my "Baking Board" for more great recipes or any of my "Other Boards". There's lots more out there that's worth checking out. Just click on "my picture" and you will be redirected to my Pinterest Boards.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
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So ends my post on different kinds of breads that my family loves. I do hope you have time to try one or more of these recipes.  They are all wonderful...just wait until the family walks in the house and breathes in hard and smells the wonderful surprise you have for them in your oven! There will be many smiles to put a "Big Smile" on your face...
Always remember..."Life's short, eat dessert first!"...words to live by!

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