What does it take to get Perfect Homemade Bread? Not much really! 7 ingredients and a few tips and you'll be on your way to never buying cardboard labeled as bread again. This is a special recipe as it is written to fit any home baker. Make it by hand, make it in a small mixer or large - it will work for you!
On the Recipe Card you will notice 3 options at the top 1x, 2x or 3x. Which one should you choose?
1x - Yields One Loaf - Great for People without a Stand Mixer
2x - Yields Two Loaves - Great for Mixers with a bowl size of 3Quarts - 5 Quarts
3x - Yields Three Loaves - Great for Mixers with a Bowl size of 6 Quarts - 8 Quarts
If you like this break down of recipe size based on mixer size, check out my Everything Bagel Seasoned Buns or Fluffy Sesame Hamburger Buns next.
- Margarine or Butter
- Whole Wheat Flour
- All Purpose Flour
The Jyst of It:
- Make the Dough
- Knead the dough until it passes the window pane test.
- Let the dough proof (rise)
- Shape the dough into loaves
- Let the dough rise again
What is the Window Pane Test?
The window pane test is an easy visual test bakers perform to see that the gluten network has been formed enough. To perform this test, you pull a but of dough away from the dough ball and slowly stretch it out. If you can stretch it enough that some light can shine through your dough has been kneaded enough and you can let it rise now. If you don't knead your dough enough, it will result in bread that isn't strong enough to hold the air bubbles. This results in a dense bread. If you are tired of kneading by hand or machine sounds like its seen better days cover your bread with a damp cloth and let it relax for a few minutes. Two things create a strong gluten network. Working the dough and Time.
Pro Tips for Perfect Homemade Bread:
- Make sure your yeast isn't expired
- If your yeast is opened be sure to store in the fridge!
- Use a thermometer to check your water. Too hot or too cold you're setting yourself up for failure
- Knead & knead some more. If your bread doesn't pass the window pane test KEEP KNEADING.
- Make sure your lovely dough has a nice place to rise. No where too cold or drafty. that will just make it take longer to rise and who wants that? Not me.
- Make sure you form your loaves properly, you can totally half ass it and misshape them they will still bake fine but its not gonna fit in the toaster and your kids will side eye you.
- After they are baked to an internal temp of 190F take them out of the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
- DO NOT CUT YOUR BREAD UNTIL IT HAS COOLED COMPLETELY - just trust me on this.
FAQ about Making Perfect Homemade Bread
Yes you can. You will lose flavour by doing so though. Substitute it for an equal amount.
You don't need any fancy bread cutting guides. The simple trick of laying the loaf on its side helps achieve even slices.
I mean technically you can use any size your heart desires. The important thing is to have enough room for the dough to rise up and then expand after that point to give the signature shape of a sandwich loaf. This Recipe is written for 9inch x 5 inch loaf pans. When the dough is shaped it should fill about half the depth of the pan leaving it lots of room.
All ovens are different. your safest best is to have them on the middle rack and the pan(s) in the middle of the rack. If you KNOW your oven bakes unevenly then make the effort to quickly rotate your pans half way through the bake.
If the mixture is still WET and STICKY after kneading it for a few minutes, then add a bit more flour. Add a little and let it mix. It doesn't take much to get it to where it needs to be. Add a tablespoon at a time.
There are two points where you let the dough rise while baking bread. The first time is the general rise. The second time is once the dough has been shaped and is in the pan. Each time you want the dough to roughly double in size. You can also poke the dough with a finger about half an inch and if the indentation remains, it has risen enough.
No! Lots of recipes will tell you too brush with butter before or after baking. I don't do either and my bread is perfectly brown and delicious. The high baking temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit helps achieve the colour.
Just calm down. Make a coffee and let it cool on the rack. Now put it into a bag and walk away. The crust will soften. And ps: a custy bread does not equal a dense bread. If you made it right it will be fluffy on the inside because you're am all-star.
Red River Cereal
I originally made this recipe with a product called red river cereal. It has been discontinued. However, there are other options that you can use that are similar to Red River Cereal. Unless you decide to leave it out entirely. It is great to add if you want more fibre. All it is, is a blend of cracked wheat, rye and brown flaxseeds. Other brands currently sold: SunnyBoy Hot Cereal and Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal. I personally don't add cereal anymore but if you can find it I think its a wonderful addition to this bread.
1x ⅙ of a cup Cereal
2x ⅓ of a cup Cereal
3x ½ cup of of cereal.
Perfect Homemade Bread
- Stand Mixer
- 1⅙ Cups Water 40℃
- 1½ teaspoon Yeast Traditional Dry Active
- 1⅓ tablespoon Sugar white, granulated
- 1 tablespoon Margarine/ Salted Butter
- 1 teaspoon Table Salt
- ⅔ cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 2⅓ cups All Purpose Flour
Make The Dough - By Hand (1x)
- To the Bowl, add water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until you see the yeast bloom. To the yeast add the margarine/butter and the salt. Now slowly add the flour one cup at a time, mixing it in fully before adding more until it is all in.Mix it all in using your hands. The dough will be soft and tacky but not sticky. If it is sticky, you can add a but more flour. Once the ingredients are combined, turn the flour out onto a clean counter top and knead it with your hands until it passes the window pane test.
Make The Dough - With a Mixer (2x and 3x)
- To the Bowl, add water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until you see the yeast bloom. To the yeast add the margarine/butter and the salt. With the dough hook attachment in place, turn mixer on to it's lowest setting, mix in the flour one cup at a time until incorporated. Remember to keep the mixer on its lowest setting the whole time - increasing the speed will be too hard on your mixers motor! Once the flour is all incorporated, let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes. Check to see that your dough passes the window pane test.
Proof The Dough
- Spray the bowl you mixed the dough in with cooking spray (canola oil) make sure to coat the dough ball with oil as well. Then cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm draft free location for about 1 hour. You will know it is risen enough when the dough has doubled in size. Another way to tell if your dough has risen enough is to poke it with your finger. Make a ½" indentation. If the indentation stays then the dough is risen enough. If it springs back, let it rise a bit longer.
Shape the Dough
- Once Dough has doubled in size punch it down. Take a 9" pan(s), and spray with cooking oil spray.* If you are doing 1x 1 pan, 2x 2 pans, 3x 3 pans.*If 2x or 3x Divide the dough accordingly to equal portions.pick up the piece of dough and flatten in your hands to roughly create the shape of a standard letter sized piece of paper. Then fold this into thirds like you are folding a piece of paper to go into an envelope. (See Video for example and other methods of shaping) Do this to each piece of dough. If using saran wrap, then spray tops with cooking oil before covering.
- Once you have your dough in their pans, cover them with a clean kitchen towel or saran wrap. Place them in a warm and draft free location. You will let them rise anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. They will have doubled in size and if you poke the dough with your finger about half an inch in, the indentation will remain. If the dough springs back, let it rise more.
- In a preheated oven set to 400°F or 205°C Bake the loaves on the center rack for 27-30 minutes. Once complete, de-pan and cool on a rack before slicing.