Need to Relieve Stress? Make Some Bread!

by Randi

Do you know what I just discovered that I love? Bread making! Good old fashioned, homemade bread making! I am talking about the no shortcut, use your muscles way to make bread! It is so much fun!

The next time you are upset or frustrated about something, just get into the kitchen and make some bread. What a stress reliever! You are poundin' and punchin' dough for like 10 minutes! It's a great workout!

It is such a rewarding and therapeutic thing and you will be so proud of yourself when you make your first delicious loaf.

Here is how you do it!

Note: This recipe uses white flour and white sugar, not something I typically recommend, however bread making is an art that I am still learning. If you want to give it a try, start with the basics.

Basic Bread Recipe

  • 2 cups of lukewarm water, about the temperature of a baby's bottle
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of oil (I used an extra virgin olive/canola oil blend because that is what I had on hand. I have also read that you can skip this ingredient but I have not tried that yet)
  • 6 cups of unbleached bread flour

Directions

Put 1 cup of warm water plus one tablespoon of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add yeast and let sit for five minutes. Do not stir!

Add oil, salt, additional tablespoon of sugar, 3 cups of flour and another cup of warm water. Stir with a heavy wooden spoon or some kind of sturdy spoon 50 times in one direction and 50 times in the opposite direction.

Add another 3 cups of flour and dig in with your hands until the dough forms a good ball.

Place dough onto floured surface and let sit for ten minutes.

Rub oil and flour on hands before kneading to help prevent the dough sticking to your hands.

Set a timer for 10 minutes and begin to knead. This is where you get to sweat!

To knead the dough, flatten the dough and fold it over towards you, pressing down on it as you fold. Turn the dough sidewise and repeat. Flatten, fold, press, turn, flatten, fold, press, turn, etc, etc (see next few pictures).

Flatten…

Fold…

Press and Turn…

When the 10 minutes is up, roll the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Roll the dough around in the bowl till a thin layer of oil covers the dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set it in a warm place for an hour to allow the dough to rise.

After an hour, check to see the dough has risen to about double in size. Make a fist and punch in the center of the dough. It will deflate it. Cover it again and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.

Next, divide the dough into two equal parts, let it rest 10 minutes.

Shape each piece into loaves. To make dough into loaves, flatten it into a rectangle. Fold dough in half towards you and flatten again.

Fold in thirds by overlapping the ends. Press with your hands.

Roll the dough in towards you to make a round cylinder and roll back and forth.

Seal each end by pressing with the edge of your hands. Smooth the loaf with your hands so it is even. Put in a greased nine inch loaf pan with the edge down.

Let it rise again in the loaf pans until the sides of the dough reach the pan and the top is well rounded (30 minutes to 1 hour).

Bake the loaves at 425 for about 25 to 30 minutes. To test for doneness, tap the crust and if it sounds hollow, it's done! If not, pop it back in the oven for a few minutes.

Brush the baked loaves with melted butter to make a soft, tender crust.

Remove the loaves from the pans. Set on wire racks to cool. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and eating.

Enjoy your hard work and have a slice!!

Special thanks to Carroll Holmes, a professional bread maker, who inspired me to start making my own bread!

For additional reading, check out http://www.justpeace.org/bread.htm.

Health and blessings!

Randi

Randi's passion is to teach people the importance of getting into the kitchen to cook! When people get into the kitchen to cook, they can control their health and their waistline. She uses fresh ingredients and traditional foods in her cooking like butter.  She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, exercise enthusiast and a consultant for an international marketing company.

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