Making bread is super satisfying, it tastes better when you make it yourself, and it means more when you bake it on your own in order to break it with friends and family. This is a very simple loaf but it should be good to get you started and hopefully inspire you to bake some more stuff on your own.
First off, let’s see what we need, other than a bread pan and a mixing bowl, here is your ingredients:
Take your mixing bowl and fill it up with hot water, just so you can warm your bowl a little bit before getting started. After it is full, dump it out.
Now put a cup of hot water in the mixing bowl and pour in your packet of yeast.
Mix in the yeast real good until you don’t see anymore clumps, it will look like this.
Now melt your butter and pour it in the bowl along with your sugar, salt, and milk. Stir that up real good so those ingredients all come to a nice clean mixture with no clumps, and then add about 2 cups of your flour.
Start mixing that flour in.
Initially, the mixing is going to be real easy as it’s fairly thin, the consistency will look something like this from your first 2 cups:
Now, you are going to want to continue mixing and adding flour, keep your flour out this entire time as you will need to keep adding it to the mixture as well as powder your working surface in a moment.
Notice the mixture is starting to get a little thicker as more flour is added, your hand may start hurting right about now as well from the mixing, but the pain from the mixing helps the flavor in the end.
The fun part is coming up, but first, this is about what your mixture should look like at the point your bowl mixing is complete:
That mixture is very hard to stir and holds it’s shape a little bit. Now comes the fun part. Grab a handful of flour and rub it all over your hands letting the flour cover your work surface, get a good coat over both your hands and the counter. Go ahead and dump your mixture on top of your floured surface:
Now you will be working the mixture with your hand, kneading it for about 10 minutes. During this process I continue adding flour to my hands and the counter where I am working. Just keep punching, pounding, throwing, and folding the mixture, powdering up your hands and work surface as you go so that the mixture doesn’t stick too badly.
Just look at how fun and cool this process is:
After 10 minutes of working the mixture, you should have a good solid bit of dough that isn’t too sticky. Work the dough into a ball and set it in your mixing bowl, either use your previous bowl after cleaning it, or grab another mixing bowl.
You are going to let that sit and rise now for an hour, above you see what it looks like right after kneading it, and below, you will see what it looks like after rising for an hour, but first, notice that I left the flour on the counter…keep it there for now:
Wow! Look at that rise! Now, go ahead and dump that dough back on the counter where you left the flour. Punch it down, flatten it and shape it into a rectangle:
In the photo, I hadn’t completely finished shaping the rectangle, you are going to want it about as wide as your bread pan like the photo shows, but you are going to want it a bit taller than in the photo. You want to then roll the dough up like so:
And then fold the ends under so that it will fit into the pan.
Now spray your pan with some non-stick cooking spray and set your dough into your pan:
Now set your pan in a warm spot to rise for another hour. At the end of the hour your dough will have raised to about twice it’s size:
Now set your oven for 400 degrees fahrenheit and bake the loaf for 30 minutes. Here is what it looks like before you bake it:
And here is what it looks like after:
It smells incredible, it’s looks beautiful, and It tastes wonderful!
You won’t ever get a loaf that beautiful from the store. Now slice it up and pop some slices in the toaster, add some homemade elderberry jam for the best toast in the entire world.
Share it with your friends and family!