Making Yeast Bread
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 1 Mixing spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 oiled baking pans
- Towel to cover bowl
- Hot pads
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp Red Star yeast
- 2-3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil (optional)
- 4-5 cups unbleached flour
- oil to coat one bowl and the baking pans
- Add water to un-oiled bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top. Add sugar and let stand for about 10 minutes or until the surface becomes foamy. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Add salt, mix, and then add oil.
- Slowly add flour in small amounts, mixing each time until it becomes too difficult to move the spoon. Using your hands, continue to add flour until it no longer sticks to your hands. The dough should still be very pliable and form into a ball.
- Set the ball in oiled bowl. Cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size.
- Move the dough from the bowl to a working surface, and punch it down. Divide the dough into two balls with a knife. Knead each dough ball counting 100 times. You do this by pressing dough down with the palm of one hand while folding part of it with the other hand. It's fun!
- Shape each loaf to fit your oiled pans. Allow them to stand in a warm place for 45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are firm when you press your finger on top. Cool loaves on a surface that will not burn.
Questions and Comments
- What's happening to the yeast? Warm water and sugar provide food for the yeast. Watch the reaction as it starts to foam up.
- Why salt? It slows the yeast activity.
- Flour? It provides protein and food for the yeast.
- Rising? The yeast cells multiply producing carbon dioxide gas which causes the dough to expand.
- Kneading? It improves the dough by developing gluten. It also compresses the gas pockets. Gluten is what holds it together.
- Baking? The yeast cells continue to grow with the heat, but as the temperature rises in the oven the yeast cells die. We should thank the yeast for giving us this wonderful food source that is an important part of our diet.