Includes instructions for baking bread mixes in the oven

Most of the time, I use the dough setting on my bread machine. Then I can bake whatever I want: dinner rolls, sweet rolls, round loaves, flat loaves, small loaves . . ..

But I have to admit, I like getting my hands in the dough. It seems real to me, more intimate. And whatever I create is “mine.”  But if I’m busy, not going to be available, I’m not shy about letting it bake in the machine.  That’s fine bread also.

And if you don’t have a bread machine, your stand-type mixer works just fine.  And I grew up kneading bread by hand.

How to Mix the Bread Mix with a Stand-Type Mixer

  1. Heat the butter until it is almost melted. (If your mix calls for butter, it will be listed on the back label).
  2. Grease the inside of the pans, including the rims.
  3. Carefully measure the specified amount of lukewarm (110°F) water. Use a thermometer if you have one. The water should be slightly warmer than body temperature when you immerse your finger in it. Set aside.
  4. In the mixing bowl of the stand-type mixer, combine approximately 1/3 of the bread mix, the water, and the yeast by beating with a dough hook for 30 seconds or until combined.
  5. Add the remainder of the mix and softened butter (if recipe calls for it) and continue mixing for another ten minutes at medium-high speed or until the dough smooth, stretchy, and elastic. The dough should be soft but not too sticky to handle. The mix is precisely designed for this amount of water. If you feel that the dough is too moist, add one or two tablespoons of flour.
  6. If you have a fruit or nut packet, add it at this time.

How to Mix the Bread Mix by Hand

  1. Place the dough mix and yeast in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add two-thirds of the water and melted butter (if the recipe calls for it) to the bowl and mix with a spatula.
  3. When the dough becomes too heavy to continue mixing with a spatula, grease your hands with shortening along with a 15-inch square area on a clean counter. Scrape the partially mixed dough onto the counter.
  4. Knead the dough by pressing the heel of your hand into the dough, turning the dough, and then pressing again until the mix is absorbed into the dough.
  5. Add more of the water as necessary until the dough is as moist as you can handle.
  6. Continue kneading for eight to ten minutes adding more shortening to your hands and counter as needed. Do not add too much shortening to the dough.
  7. If the dough becomes too sticky to work, even with greased hands, add flour (not included) one tablespoon at time, kneading between additions. Do not add more than is necessary—softer dough will rise more readily and have a better structure.
  8. When the dough is smooth and elastic, it is ready to rise.
  9. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn once to oil all sides. Let rise until doubled, at least one hour, depending on temperature.
  10. Turn the dough onto a lightly greased work area. Deflate the dough by gently folding and pressing most of the air from the dough.
  11. Using your hands, form a cylinder by pulling the dough around the center and tucking the seams together on the bottom, thus gently stretching the surface of the dough. Pinch the seams together to keep them from opening as the loaf expands. Place seam side down in the prepared pan. Gently work the dough toward the corners of the pan to create a uniform loaf.
  12. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about one hour. Rise times will vary with conditions, especially temperature—yeast is very sensitive to temperature. In a 9×5-inch pan, the bread should rise to about three inches (slightly higher than the rim on most pans).

Baking the Bread Mix in the Oven

  1. While the bread is still rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. When the bread has raised, place the loaf on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the bread is done and well-browned. If you have a probe-type thermometer, the internal temperature should reach 190°F.
  3. If the bread is browning too rapidly, loosely cover the loaf for the last five minutes with aluminum foil.
  4. Once baked, immediately remove the loaf from the pan and cool it on a wire rack. The bread should cool completely before slicing.
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