No mixer homemade bread. Making your own homemade bread is not difficult, even if you have to mix it by hand. (People used to do it by hand back in the day, and it’s just as easy now as it was then.) You can mix it up without using a mixer, and, while it might take a little longer, you will have the satisfaction of accomplishing this feat in short order!
Your oven. You can bake bread in an outdoor oven, an electric oven, or a gas range. It matters not at all. A convection will get the job done a little sooner, but you can use any oven, believe me.
A few weeks ago, our daughter’s friend, Paryce, visited and wanted to learn how to make bread. She doesn’t have a mixer (not even a hand-held one), but in the kitchen of Linger Longer, she learned how to make bread anyhow. My Bosch and my Kitchen Aid sat silently on the counters. The hand-held mixer stayed inside the drawer, and we just used a few measuring cups and a bowl to mix up the dough.
Gather your ingredients. You will need warm water (110-115); vegetable oil; sugar; salt; yeast; bread flour. That’s all. This is what you do.
Warm Water. Using tap water, turn it on to hot until it warms up and becomes the right temperature (110-115 degrees). I’ve used a meat thermometer and a candy thermometer to do this. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be able to “feel” and know when it’s the right temperature. Measure the water and put it into a bowl or a measuring cup. We used a measuring cup. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate like it should. Learn to get the water just right. The picture below shows the beginning of the fizzing of the yeast.
Yeast. Pour the yeast on top of the water. It will start to slide into the warm water.
Sugar. Add the sugar. Adding the sugar will help “push” the yeast down into the water. You can use a fork to stir it together. You definitely want that yeast to be submerged in the water!
Wait. Watch the yeast start to bubble as it dissolves. This will take 5-10 minutes.
Vegetable Oil and Salt. In a large bowl, mix the two together. If you want to, you can add a cup of flour now, or just wait.
Add the mixtures. Mix the yeast/water and the vegetable oil/salt together well. We used a large slotted spoon.
Add flour. Start with two cups. Use the slotted spoon until it’s too hard to handle.
Begin kneading flour into the dough. Put some flour on your counter, spoon out the bread mixture and start mixing/kneading the flour into the dough. Just add a cup at a time and keep kneading.
Knead the dough. Keep working the dough and kneading until it is smooth and elastic. You’ll be able to get that “feel” after you’ve worked it long enough. My arms were starting to get tired but Paryce kept plugging away until her dough had a smooth, soft texture.
Put in a bowl and let it rise. Once the dough is the right texture, put it into a greased bowl, turning it over so that all sides are covered with oil. After it has doubled in size, punch it down with your hands and let it rise. You should let it rise twice if you have time.
Shape loaves and put into bread pan. Pick up the dough and put it into a round or an oblong shape; you can knead it into the shape you want, or slap it with your hands to get the air bubbles off. Once the loaf is in the pan, I put a fork down through the loaf – 5 or 6 places times total. This (supposedly) helps get rid of air bubbles. Plus, it’s the way my mama did it, so I do it this way, too. I have a sister who doesn’t prick her loaves anymore and she says they turn out fine.
Let bread rise, then bake. Once the bread is in the pan, let it rise again. Once it’s ready, put the pans into a pre-heated oven and bake. You can turn them around part-way through.
Schmutz. That’s Pennsylvania Dutch for “grease”. So that’s what we do. Schmutz the tops of your bread and watch it glisten! You can use butter, margarine, Crisco, or vegetable oil.
This photo is the finished product and the process took about four hours from start to finish. It took longer because I had Paryce practice getting the water temperature right, and then we were busy doing other things so the dough rose higher than it needed to before we punched it down both times. Plus, we took our time to knead the flour into the dough. You can do this easily in under three hours.
The recipe. You can follow this method using any recipe, but I’m happy to share the recipe I used for this one. I actually just doubled the easy dinner roll recipe. Here’s the doubled recipe.
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup sugar (I used a lot less)
- 2 Tbsp. yeast
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 8-12 cups bread flour
- Dissolve yeast with sugar in warm water (110-115 degrees)
- Mix vegetable oil and salt together
- Add the yeast mixture to the oil mixture
- Add 4 cups bread flour to the yeast mixture and stir until mixed well
- Put the dough on the counter and dust with bread flour
- Knead the bread flour into the dough
- Keep adding more flour into the dough until it is not sticky
- Knead on countertop until smooth and elastic - 5-10 minutes
- Place into greased bowl and let rise in a warm, draft-free place
- When double in size, punch down and let it rise again
- Divide dough into equal portions and shape into loaves
- Put into greased bread pans and prick with a fork if desired
- Let rise until double
- Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes or until brown
- Remove from pans and cool on a rack or a tea towel
- Grease the top of loaves with butter, margarine, vegetable oil, or Crisco
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