In order to go along with our new philosophy of cooking more from scratch and saving money, and I suppose because I didn't have enough craziness in my life. I have baked all of the bread in our house for about the last 4 or 5 months. When I first started off, my bread really sucked. I made at least a half a dozen bricks instead of bread. But gradually I have improved to the point that my family raves over my bread. I make dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and bread all from the same recipe. This is why I call it my "everything" bread. I have yet to use it as pizza crust, but I have a feeling it might be pretty good as that too.
Dawn's Everything Bread:
(Makes 2 loaves)
1 Cup warm water (I nuke mine in the microwave for 1 minute)
1 /4 cup oil
1 /2 cup sugar (or honey, or brown sugar, your choice)
3 tsp yeast (not rapid rise)
1 1/2 cup Wheat flour
1 1/2 cup White flour
3/4 tsp salt
I bought a used bead maker from my local thrift shop that has a dough cycle and use this to mix and knead my dough. I find that even though I am capable of doing this myself, the bread maker does it better, more consistantly, and saves me time because I can just throw everything in the breadmaker and do other things.
Put the ingredients in your bread maker in the order they are listed. It is very important that the liquids and yeast go in before the flour or your dough will not rise correctly. Tell your machine to make dough (not bake) and let it do it's thing. When the dough has risen to the top of the pan, your bread is ready to shape into loaves. This takes a little longer than my dough cycle thinks it should, but it may be different in yours.
If you are making your bread by hand, I'd suggest that you watch The magic of Making Bread on Youtube. Notice how most of the flour gets mixed in while she's kneading, not in the bowl? That keeps you from adding too much flour. The yeasties can't grow if the dough is too stiff. The dough should be nice and warm and softer than play dough.
Once your dough has reached the top of the pan (or doubled in size) take your fist and puch right down the center. Put some flour on the counter and knead it a few times until all the air bubbles are out of it. Now divide it in half. Now you have a few choices. Each half will make either a loaf of bread, a pan of dinner rolls, 6-8 hamburger buns, or 6-8 hot dog buns depending on what you do with it.
Grease your pans and form your bread into the shape you want. I learned the technique on tucking the dough into the bottom to form nice round shapes from this video. Once your bread is in it's new shape and safely in it's new pans, cover it with a little bit of oil and some saran wrap, or a damp dish towel. Let it rise until it reaches the top of the pan (or has doubled in size).
Turn the oven to 350 (that's about 176 for my Metric friends). Put your pans into the cold oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
This bread has a very smooth, elastic texture and is quite sweet, much like the yummy Sara Lee breads :)