So, you don’t have a bread machine? That’s no problemo because making dough is so terribly easy. I have many recipes. Here is an old standby. You can also use the bread machine version of sweet dough, (←click) but just make it by hand! Use this same basic technique: Mix, knead, raise. This recipe can also be used in your bread machine with the ‘dough only’ cycle.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 pkg or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 cup good flour more or less
In a microwave proof measuring cup or bowl, or in a saucepan, gently heat the milk. Not too hot, just to warm it. Add the butter, sugar and salt. This will help cool it down. You do not want it to be over 110 degrees by the time you add the yeast.
When it is cool enough, add the yeast, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Using a fork, or good whisk or wooden spoon, mix the ingredients into a smooth dough. Gradually add flour, about 1/4 cup at a time until it is a dough stiff enough to handle without excessive sticking. But you want it to stick a little, kind of like a post-it note. You will be adding flour, kneading it into the dough until it is smooth and still a little tacky. If it is not still a little tacky or sticky, it will turn out dry and crumbly. If it is too wet and wont let go of the side of the bowl or your hands, it is too wet to hold its shape. It needs enough flour to create the gluten to hold itself up. It should be 3 1/2 cups, more of less. If it is a humid day, it will be less. It also depends on your flour. *
Once it is kneaded until a smooth dough that bounces back a bit when poked, it is done. (If you don’t know how to knead, you can YouTube a demonstration. Basically just lay the dough out on a floured board, push it away from you, fold it over, push again, fold over, push again. If a bread machine can do it with just a little paddle, it can’t be that hard, huh?) Put the kneaded dough in a bowl, spray some oil on the top of the dough, cover it with Saran wrap and let it raise at room temp. After it has approx. doubled in size, it is ready to use. This takes about 45-60 minutes. Gently deflate it and it is then ready to use in a recipe. Or you can put it into the fridge to raise overnight, then deflate and let it come to room temp in the morning. Third option: Wrap well and freeze. After it has raised, you gently deflate, then wrap to freeze.
*Speaking of flour, let’s have our little flour discussion here and now. There is only 1 hard and fast ‘Linda” rule. And it is this:
DO NOT USE BLEACHED FLOUR
That’s about it. I use King Arthur usually. Another good is Bobs Red Mill, which is milled the old-fashioned way with a slower stone mill, retaining more of its vitamins and so on. There is a blended flour of regular and white whole wheat, called “Eagle Mills All Natural” which I use a lot. Even Gold Medal unbleached is good for many recipes. Even sweet dough. You only need a high protein flour for loaves of bread that are going to rise high. But biscuits, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc can use regular ‘strength’ all-purpose flour. I try to keep an assortment. Regular, blended, white whole wheat, traditional whole wheat, bread, whole wheat pastry flour…Really, I can go on all day, I never get tired of this.