Easy Homemade Bread With A Secret
Updated: Apr 5
For the longest time, making bread seemed really intimidating. It felt like there wasn’t so much a science to it as there was some sort of multi-generational, old world secret to it.
I would make it, and it just wouldn’t come out quite right. By quite right I mean you could throw it through a store window during a riot if you wanted to steal toilet paper and TV’s.
Well, I am happy to report I finally found a recipe that is not only easy but I have a secret weapon that will change your life. Ready for this......
POTATO WATER! That’s right, potato water. I was tweeting with Nigella Lawson the other day and she shared this secret. I was skeptical at first, but wow. The next time you boil potatoes, save the water. I just happened to be boiling some for dinner, so I let it cool to the right temperature for the yeast. However, you can set it aside for a day or two, and probably even freeze it, and be ok.
The only other thing you need is patience and an eye for when the dough is just right. Soon, your home will be filled with the amazing aroma of bread baking in the oven. Let’s get started.
(Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home)
1 Package of Active Dry Yeast
2 1/4 Cups of Potato Water (110° to 115°-think warm like when you test a baby’s bottle on your wrist)
3 Tablespoons of sugar + 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of canola oil
6 1/4 to 6 3/4 cups of bread flour. (If you don‘t have bread flour, I still had great results with all-purpose flour)
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand until bubbles form on surface (about 5 minute). This is going to require some trial and error too. If the water is not warm enough, the yeast won't fully activate. If the water is too hot, you'll kill it. This is the kind of foam you're looking for.
Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour. Stir oil into yeast mixture; pour into flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour, half cup at a time, to form a soft though.
*Here is where using your eyes is important. I know the recipe calls for 6 1/4 to 6 3/4 cups of bread flour, but I find myself not using much more than 5 1/2 cups. As directed, add the flour a 1/2 cup at a time until your dough starts to not only pull away from your mixing bowl but it will also not be wet and sticky. Something like this.
2. Turn onto a floured surface; need until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. If you are mixing in a mixing bowl like a KitchenAid, about seven minutes on medium high will be fine. Place in a greased bowl, turning wants to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
*This is the patience piece. But it’s worth it.
3. Punch go down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place into greased 9 x 5” loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours
4. Bake at 375° until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped or has reached an internal temperature of 200°, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Brush tops with melted butter