How to Bake Bread
This recipe will make four nice fat buns of bread or five smaller buns that will fit in the toaster. It's been unaltered for at least four generations, and it can keep the whole family chewing happily for weeks or sell as many as you bake when you bring them to a fundraiser or a market.
This recipe involves a fair amount of flour to mix with other ingredients, so a larger bowl will make it easier to work with. An electric hand mixer was used to prepare this bread, but a stand mixer can be another option with more power to handle the dense mixture. The electric hand mixer used here was chosen for its power rating and its wire beaters, which create less drag through the dough.
Step 1 - Assemble The Ingredients
The first thing to do is to get all the ingredients together in the right quantities:
11 Cups of All-Purpose flour
1/2 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp of Salt
4 1/2 tsp (2 pkg) of Dry Yeast
2/3 Cup of warm water
1 Tsp of Sugar
4 Cups of Water
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 Well-beaten Egg
Step 2 - Assemble the Dry Ingredients
Using a 13-inch large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix them well, as shown in Figure 1. Once this is done, hold the bowl by its sides and hit it on the counter-top to level it and pack it down some (Figure 2). It can then be set aside for step 5.
Step 3 - Beat the Eggs
A small mixing bowl can be used to thoroughly beat an egg with the electric mixer. It can then be set aside for step 6.
Step 4 - Prepare the Yeast
A medium-size bowl is needed to dissolve the yeast in 2/3 Cups of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar (Figure 3). Yeast will tend to rise faster in a warm environment, in about 10 minutes when conveniently placed in front of a large sunny window.
Step 5 - Prepare the Dry Mix
While the yeast is rising, the bowl with the dry flour mix can be readied by moving the dry mix up the sides of the bowl from the center, creating a hollow concave shape where the wet ingredients will be placed (Figure 4).
Step 6 - Add the Wet Ingredients
The already-beaten egg can then be added into the hollow part of the mix, followed with a half cup of vegetable oil, four cups of warm water (Figure 5). In the meantime, the yeast should be risen enough and can be added on top of the mix as in Figure 6.
Step 7 - Mix
With all ingredients in the large bowl, the hand mixer is used to blend the mixture starting in the center of the mix and working it around to get the dry ingredients from the sides to further mix with the wet dough.
At times, because of the thick texture of the dough, it will start going up the beaters, but it can be removed by lifting the mixer slightly from the mix slowing down the beater’s speed as it goes down and gets off, and then back down to resume mixing. At one point during the mixing, it will become too hard for the beaters to turn, so the mixer will have to be stopped, unplugged from the outlet, and took out, cleaning off the dough from them in the process.
Step 8 - Knead
This is where the kneading will be completed by hand, as in Figure 8. This step can be started by holding the bowl with one hand while making a fist with the other hand and pressing in a twisting motion, firmly but smoothly into the dough mass (but not punching into it!). This motion must be replicated throughout the mixture while gradually moving around the bowl, the purpose of this to combine the gliadin and the glutenin proteins to form the gluten which makes the bread light and fluffy.
After the dry mix is properly mixed into the dough, it has to be “folded” over by sliding both opened hands underneath the dough at the far side of the bowl and lifting while bringing it forward as if “folding” it over itself (Figure 9). This will expose more of the dry mix that needs to be sprinkled on top of the dough so that more kneading can be done and the whole process of kneading and folding can be repeated for about 10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and springy.
Step 9 - Fix the Dough to Rise
At this stage, a light dusting of flour is applied to the countertop and the dough molded into a large soft and elastic ball is placed onto it. The bowl can now be wiped off clean from all the lumpy dried-out leftovers and bits of flour left from kneading.
About 1/4 cups of vegetable oil can now be added to the cleaned and empty bowl before returning the dough to it. The ball of dough is moved around inside the bowl greasing it evenly all around (Figure 10). The dough is left in the bowl to rise on the counter or brought into the sun, with a dishtowel laid on top to hold the heat (Figure 11).
Step 10 - Separating the Dough into Buns
It’s time to take one of the bread pans and pour some vegetable oil in it to grease each bun individually before letting them rise. After doubling its size, about 45 minutes, in this case, the dough can be divided into four or five separate buns as evenly as possible, using a large sharp knife (Figure 12).
Each piece can then be molded into the approximate shape of a bun by folding it under all-around before dipping it into the bread pan with the oil and coating generously all around. The bun can then be placed into a different bread pan before doing the exact same thing to the next one until the last bun which will remain in the same, and last, bread pan. The four or five pans depending on the size they were made, can then be left to rise.
Step 11 - Bake the Bread
About 30 to 35 minutes later, the top rack in the oven can be lowered for the top of the pans to be in the center of the oven, and the oven can be set on convect at 350°F (180°C) for pre-heating. Once the buns double up in size (after about 45 minutes) they can be placed inside the oven for about an hour or less (maybe 45 minutes) if the buns are smaller (5-6 buns).
The time and temperature setting, however, could vary for a regular or a natural gas oven, so they should be baked until they get to a deep golden brown. They should then be removed from the pans and place onto wire racks where they can be immediately coated with butter to keep the crust soft.