There is something magical about homemade bread. It smells so wonderful when it’s baking, tastes incredibly delicious, and makes you feel like a master chef when you’ve achieved being able to make it!
I make most of the bread we eat from scratch, and have come up with one master recipe and method that produces many kinds of bread very easily. With my recipe, you can make French baguette, crusty French rolls, chewy and flavorful focaccia bread, pizza crust, soft and fluffy dinner rolls, homemade hamburger or hot dog buns, soft and fluffy sandwich bread, and hearty 100% whole wheat sandwich bread.
When I bake, I use instant yeast. It is a newer product. Active dry yeast has been dried so that there is a layer of dead yeast around live yeast in the center. You have to activate it by soaking in warm water to dissolve off the dead layer. Instant yeast is all live… no dead layer, so it dissolves instantly in water, works much faster, and it tastes better! Instant yeast is also called “bread machine” yeast, or “rapid rise” yeast. I buy it in jars, and store it in the fridge.
I use a food processor to make my doughs, as I have found it does the best job of making a really nice, smooth dough. If you don’t have one (blasphemy!) go buy one right away! The cuisinart basic 14 cup processor is what I use and highly recommend. If you just can’t commit, the doughs can all be kneaded in a stand mixer with a dough attachment, or by hand, but the kneading time will be much longer. 8 to 10 minutes for a stand mixer, and 20-30 by hand, until the dough is really elastic and smooth. Hand kneading or the stand mixer will not work for the whole wheat bread dough, as it is a very wet dough, so you really can’t make that variation without a food processor.
Click here to get my bread-recipes in a handy downloadable PDF!
Today, I made parmesan and black pepper focaccia bread. All the different breads begin the same; flour and salt go in the food processor, and warm water and yeast get mixed in a measuring cup.
Turn the processor on, and pour the water through the feed tube. Run 30 seconds to knead.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise 35 minutes.
For focaccia, we turn the risen dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and pat it out into a rectangle.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise 20 minutes, while the oven heats to 425. After the rise time, poke the fococcia all over with your fingertips:
Now drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread it around.
Srinkle with whatever aromatics you like. I used grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and black pepper.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes until it is deep golden brown.
Cut it into 6 squares, and then slice each in half to make sandwiches. Today, I used the oven roasted turkey breast from Costco, shredded up, and also homemade mayonnaise. Homemade mayo is another reason I love my food processor. I always thought mayo was really disgusting stuff until I tried homemade! It’s very easy to make and beats the socks off the store bought stuff.
Place an egg, a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper into the food processor.
Food processors have a little hole in the small food pusher tube, which is perfect for drizzling oil into the mayonnaise.
Turn the processor on and pour 1 cup of canola oil into the small pusher, so the oil drizzles through that little hole.
As soon as the last of the oil drips through the feed tube, the mayo should be thick and white.
Scrape it into a mason jar, and refrigerate.
I like adding mix-ins to my mayonnaise to create really delicious sandwich spreads, such as pesto sauce, sriracha sauce, minced chipotle in adobo, etc. Today I added some pureed roasted red peppers and a pinch of smoked paprika.
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
Place egg, vinegar, Dijon, salt, and pepper in the bowl of your food processor with the metal blade. Turn the processor to on and pour the canola oil slowly into the small pusher, which has a little hole in the bottom and will perfectly drizzle the oil into the egg.
Once all the oil has been added, turn the processor off and scrape your mayonnaise into a mason jar or storage container. Cover and refrigerate.