Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 1 loaf
Dietary guidance: v v n d
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cu sugar
1 cu warm water (between 120-130 degrees F, hotter temps will kill yeast and prevent rising)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vital wheat gluten (optional, will make dough rise easier)
1 1/2 cu bread flour (sifted)
1 1/2 cu whole wheat flour (sifted)
1. First thing you'll want to do is proof the yeast. Mix the sugar into the warm water in a large bowl until it has dissolved completely. After the sugar is dissolved, mix in the yeast. Then set aside the bowl for 15 min, or until yeast looks like a light tan foam on the surface of the water.
2. While the yeast is proofing, in a separate large bowl mix together the bread flour, wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, and salt together.
3. When the yeast has proofed, start off by adding the vegetable oil and giving it a quick stir. Then start adding the flour mixture. Stir in one cup at a time, until a ragged looking dough starts coming together.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 10-15 min, or until smooth and not sticky.
(( If kneading seems hard for you, try this method. Take the dough ball and flatten it out with your hands till it's around 1-2 in thick. Then, fold the dough in half and flatten it again to that thickness. Repeat this method, sprinkling a little flour here and there to keep the dough from sticking. ))
5. Take the bowl that your dry flour mixture was in and clean it out. Then coat the inside of it with a vegetable oil spray. Form your dough into a ball and roll it around the inside of the oiled bowl. Set the dough in the bottom of this bowl and cover it either with a cloth towel or a loose sheet of plastic wrap. Then place the bowl in a warm location and let the dough rise until it's doubled in size, usually 30-45 min.
6. After the dough has finished rising, take off the cover and punch it down to bring it back down to size. Knead it lightly for five minutes or so before rolling it up into a loaf-like shape. Take a 5x9in bread pan and spray the interior with vegetable oil. Then place the dough loaf into it. Cover the pan lightly with the towel or plastic wrap and return it to the warm location to rise until the dough is 1-2 in above the lip of the pan.
(( A slightly warm oven with the heat turned off or a closed microwave are good places to let dough rise. If the kitchen/house is too cold or dry, it might take longer for the dough to rise, but it will still rise. Also, if you use the oven method, do not let the temperature get above 120 degrees F. If it's too hot, the yeast will be killed and then the bread won't rise. ))
7. Once the dough is risen again, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the cloth/plastic wrap and bake the bread for 30 min.
8. After the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven. Set out a cooling rack and turn out the bread loaf onto it. Let the bread cool for at least an hour before cutting into it.
(( Cutting into a loaf of bread like this is easier with an actual "bread knife." This is a knife with a long, serrated blade. ))