Since moving to Washington and trying to be as frugal as possible, I have taken up making all of our breads. Not that we spend loads of cash on bread, but it is still an improvement and it is so much better for you without the preservatives and chemicals! Plus, it tastes a heck of a lot better.
I don't have a bread machine, and I don't know anything too fancy. My mom taught me how to make bread when I was a kid, and lately I've just been experimenting with different recipes and variations. I am not much of a fan of store bought sandwich bread, but my husband is partial to Potato bread. Often I send him to work with sandwiches for lunch and potato bread is always his preference. After making bread for a couple weeks I started to play around with potato bread recipes. The outcomes have been mighty tasty and the husband is a fan of homemade bread now! Success! My loaves don't look like the store bought (WHY is potato bread always yellowish in the store? Potatoes aren't even yellow...?), but it tastes delicious!
Here is how I make it:
First off, to make bread you need YEAST.
I use an activedry yeast that needs to be "proofed" before you can use it in bread. A lot of people use instant yeasts, but I am not familiar with those and cannot speak for them...
For this recipe you need, 2 1/4 tablespoons of yeast. Put it in an bowl and add 1/4 cup of warm water and a table spoon of sugar. Mix it up and put it in the oven (now off!) for 10 minutes. The yeast should double in size by the time 10 minutes is up; this is how you know it is active and ready to use.
While you wait for the yeast to proof put these ingredients in a bowl:
3 cups of bread flour (potato flour can be incorporated here if you have it available, I however, do not have any of that yet),
2 tablespoons of sugar,
3/4 teaspoon of salt,
3/4 teaspoon of oil (I use olive),
1 cup of hot water,
1/2 cup of milk and
1/2 cup of mashed potatoes (I just prepared and used the flakey instant kind)
then add in your proofed yeast and mix all the dough together.
The dough should come together into a sort of sticky mess. If it is too dry, add a bit more water.
Then, clean and flour your counter (and your hands) where you will knead the bread.
Next: knead that dough! I've always been told by my mother that you need to knead the dough until it feels "smooth like a baby's bottom." But if baby butt analogies don't quite help you understand how long something takes, I'd say something like 8 minutes. If you need a little help or refresher on kneading, HERE is a good Youtube tutorial which may help you!
Once you have kneaded the bread, place the dough into a well oiled bread pan and put it in the still-warm oven to rise for 1 hour. (If you want to form your own loaf and not use a bread pan, you should let it rise in a oiled bowl, covered with a damp dishtowel).
Once your hour is up and your bread is fully risen, take it out and heat the oven back up to 350. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and slice.
If left out or in the fridge, because the bread has no preservatives, it will go stale if not eaten in a day or two. If you have a big family, eat it up quick! Or, you can do like I do for just my husband and I. I place the slices in a freezer bag and freeze it, thawing it out as we need it for toast and sandwiches throughout the week.
Hope you enjoy this scrumptious bread! Be sure to have a nice thick slice with butter or cheese when it is fresh out of the oven and still warm! Nothing better!