Want to learn about making bread from scratch? First you’ll need to understand the basics of bread making and how different types of bread are made.
Making bread from scratch
Just a few generations ago, people would have scoffed at the idea of heading to the store to buy a loaf of bread. Baking bread at home was once the norm, but man, have we stepped far away from that simple activity! If you’re considering delving into making bread from scratch as part of your efforts toward more self-reliant living, here’s a very basic look at the difference between quick bread and yeast bread.
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Baking Bread: Quick Bread
Quick breads are usually leavened with baking soda or baking powder.
Wait! What in the world does leavened mean? Leavening is what causes bread to rise when making bread from scratch. Without some sort of leavening, your bread will be a dense brick.
As the name implies, quick breads don’t require a lot of time, since the leavening agents work almost immediately. Mix up the ingredients, bake, and you’re all set. Quick breads can be sweet or savory:
- Liliko‘i bread
- Banana bread
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Leftover Ham and Cheese Biscuits
Baking Bread: Yeast Bread
Generally speaking, yeast breads have a lower fat and sugar content than quick breads. Yeast breads take a bit more work than quick breads. The dough requires kneading (though if you have one of these that part’s a snap) and time to rise.
Wait! What in the world does rise mean? When you add yeast to your dough, it causes the process of fermentation to start. The yeast needs a chance to “consume” the sugar and excrete carbon dioxide and alcohols, making the little air pockets you see in bread. (Go here for a very detailed description of the process.)
The good news is, you don’t need to be involved with the rising process. Just cover the dough and let it do its thing. Here’s the most important thing to note, though: Yeast bread is not hard to make.
Making bread from scratch with yeast is a different process than you might be familiar with, sure. But learning how to make bread from scratch is the same as most other cooking: combine ingredients and bake. These recipes all start with a yeast dough:
- Whole wheat sandwich bread
- Portuguese sweet bread
- French bread
- Dinner rolls
- Pizza dough
- Bagels (these are a bit more involved to make)
What’s the difference between yeast bread and sourdough?
Sourdough breads are made with a natural leavening agent. You’ve probably heard the term “sourdough starter.” This is an active leavening agent that causes bread to rise. A good sourdough starter can live for years if well cared for.
Baking bread from scratch with a sourdough starter differs in that it generally takes longer to rise than those made with commercially-produced yeast.
That long rise causes the flours to ferment. Some people find that fermented sourdough breads are easier to digest. To get started with sourdough fermentation, you’ll need to make a sourdough starter. Then give these recipes a try: