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Adventures in the Kitchen and on the Road

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MellyBrelly's White Bread

Four years ago, mellybrelly posted an entry that made baking bread from scratch look doable. There were many many photos that demystified the process. As soon as I saw her instructions, I had to try it for myself. The very next Saturday, after about 8 hours in the kitchen, I had tired arms, messy counters, and tons of bread. Loved it!

4 photos showing the finished bread


  1. Make the starter. In a small bowl, combine these ingredients:
    1/2 tsp sugar
    3 Tbsp yeast
    1 cup warm water

    starter of yeast, sugar, and water

  2. In a separate large bowl, mix together these items:
    4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup butter (or margarine or oil)
    3/4 cup of white sugar
    1/4 cup of brown sugar

    butter and sugars mixed together

  3. Into that large bowl, mix in:
    2 eggs
    2 cups hot water
    1 cup milk
    2 Tbsp lemon juice

    butter, sugars, and liquids mixed together

  4. Go back to the big bowl of combined wet ingredients. Start adding flour, a cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon. Keep adding flour and mixing. When the yeast and water mix is looking bubbly and smelling yeasty (takes about 10 minutes), mix that in with your dough. Continue kneading in a cup of flour at a time until it's smooth.

    [I found that vague instruction rather distressing. How smooth is smooth? About how many cups should I use? Am I kneading enough? Am I kneading too much? After about 7 cups, it was looking doughy. I spread some flour on the counter where I planned to knead the bread. After 9 cups, I removed it from the bowl to the floured surface. I kept kneading and adding flour until I had added 12 cups of flour. This took me a long time. Maybe as much as 45 minutes to add in all the flour.]

    4 photos of adding in flour
    Left to Right: 3 cups flour added, 7 cups flour, 9 cups flour (then poured it out onto floured surface to knead), and the final ball of dough after 12 cups flour

  5. Get a big clean bowl and butter/grease the sides. Put the dough in there and butter/grease the top of the bread as well. Cover the top of the bowl with a tea towel or sheets of wax paper. Let it rise for 2 hours.

    3 photos showing the first rise of the dough
    L to R: 1. dough first put in bowl 2. After 1 hour 3. After 2 hours

  6. Punch the dough down and separate it into 4 sections. Shape the dough into desired shapes. I made one into a French Bread loaf and a round loaf, one went into greased loaf pan, one was made into dinner rolls, and one was made into another long loaf and some assorted raisin rolls.

    dough formed into various loaves
    Here's the dough formed into various loaves. The top left is in a greased loaf pan. The rest are on greased baking sheets that have been sprinkled with cornmeal.

    For the dinner rolls, I greased a muffin tin and then made three little balls of dough for each muffin tin section.

    dough in three little balls for each muffin
    These puff up over the edges when they're done.

  7. Set the shaped dough aside and cover. Allow to rise another 45 minutes.

  8. Bake 350F for 30-40 minutes.

  9. When crust is nicely browned, cool bread on wire racks. Enjoy!

    loaf of sandwich bread

    a round loaf

    dinner rolls

    assorted rolls

1/2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water

4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 eggs
2 cups hot water
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice

~ 12 cups flour

  1. Mix starter of yeast, a little sugar, and warm water. Set that aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour a cup at a time until smooth. Start in big bowl with a wooden spoon to mix. When it becomes doughy, transfer to floured surface and continue adding flour and kneading. (total for me was about 12 cups flour)
  3. Butter/grease a big bowl and the top of the dough.
  4. Cover dough and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Punch down. Divide into 4 parts. Form into desired shapes for the loaves or muffins.
  6. Place in greased pans.
  7. Cover shaped dough and let rise 45 minutes.
  8. Twenty minutes before baking, pre-heat oven to 350F.
  9. Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes.
  10. Cool on wire racks.

Links to the original posts:

Thread in bakebakebake: http://community.livejournal.com/bakebakebake/2632266.html

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very nicely done little storyboard! And now I want to try it.

*grin* That's how I felt after seeing mellybrelly's original posts

Heather loves baking breads. She's used the Tassajara Bread Book for decades, and I figured you might like a recommendation if you intend to make baking bread a regular occurrence. (Heather "Its bread kicks ass - and it's got some really great quickbread recipes").

that book has been on my wishlist forever, I've only made one recipe from it (years ago) but loved it!

Thanks for the recommendation! I hadn't heard of that one. Looks like the library has it so next time I go down there I'll try to snag a copy.

Damn you for making this look doable, I'm supposed to be working right now, but my kitchen is just, like, eight feet away.

*grin* I was surprised by how much simpler mellybrelly made it look. Lately I've been baking other breads and they generally seem harder to do than hers but I think they're not really harder -- she just makes it seem like no big deal.

Those look awesome. Bread is even better than potato!

Thanks :) Oh...that's a hard call there. Depends on the bread I think. :)

those clover rolls you made, next time you make them you can stuff them in the middle, and make volcano rolls if you want to change it up a bit. I like to put basil, rehydrated sundried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic and butter in a food processor and pulse it until its a paste then I drop a spoonful inbetween the dough balls. Good flavor kick! ;)

The bread turned out fantastic! I bet the house smelled wonderful!

oooh. I have not heard of volcano rolls. Seems like the filling would spill out all over the place. Is that the intention? The flavors do indeed sound great though. I'll have to try that.

Yes, the bread smelled wonderful. I was soooo pleased with myself.

I love when my old posts come back, I miss doing those! Your bread looks awesome. I told Tim and he said it feels like FOREVER since I baked bread, I'll have to do it once I feel more alive.

Your bread post and your banana bread muffins are among my favorite recipes that I've tried online. I call it the mellybrelly school of baking :)

I've been making bread using the basic recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day lately. Very simple, no-knead method. I don't think it's as good but it's quite acceptable given how much easier it is to make. Basically mix up a batch of yeast, water, salt, and flour. Stir together just until everything's moistened and then let it sit on the counter top to rise. After first rise is done, throw a lid on and stick it in the fridge. Whenever you want bread, rip off a hunk of dough, shape it, and let it do its second rise. Then bake. Great for making fresh bread in the middle of the work week.

Interesting! That's a good idea for when life is busy!!

also, I had reposted this to bakebakebake and hefnersbunny spotted you over there :)

oh awesome! It's locked, but maybe I'll join. :)

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figures you'd have something tasty underway in the kitchen! :)

12 cups? Share your secret please! I made bread last week and struggled to fit 5 cups in. Makes me wish I had a stand mixer.

It is quite possible that I mixed in too much flour. It was my first time making a yeast dough so every time I kept kneading and it seemed to get sticky and wet again, I thought that meant I needed to add more flour. My arms were indeed very tired at the end of making this.

Still...the recipe I've been using lately has 3 cups water and 6.5 cups of flour and that leaves me with a very wet dough. I think I could easily add more flour to that if I wanted to.

I love the look and smell of freshly baked bread. Thanks for sharing. Someday when I can free up a good block of time, I'll bake bread!

I have more bread posts to make. One of them is the basic boule recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which I've been using to have fresh bread during the week when I don't have time for more labor-intensive bread. I don't think the results taste as good but still better than a lot of supermarket bread. And it's so much easier! Really does come down to just about 5-10 minutes of active work. You can find the recipe elsewhere online if you're curious.

Beautiful bread! I can practically smell them fresh from the oven from those photos. I worked at a bakery between HS and college, but still find it extremely satisfying when I have bread that turns out well. I love making bread best when I need a good, long distraction or when I have frustrations to work out.

oooh...I'm jealous! I'd like to work at a real bakery just to really learn how to make bread. For now, I'm still very unsure of myself when I'm making it. So many variables!

I know what you mean. I was there for a year, even taking over whenever the primary bakers were out, but still need a recipe when it comes to breads and pastries. I love how malleable and forgiving cooking is, but there's so much chemistry when it comes to baking. It's good for us all to know, though, that sometimes even the best of bakers end up with an "oops" batch ;-)

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