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Daily Bread

(revised June 2007 - and check upgrades below))

always in preparation

[baked bread rolls]

If It's The First Time You're Baking Bread

  • 2 cups wholewheat flour (I prefer King Arthur's Traditional)
  • 2 cups white flour (Gold Medal Better-for-Bread)
    (if you don't have wholewheat flour, use 4½ cups white flour)
  • 1 packet (1 TBsp) dry yeast
  • 1 TBsp + ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TBsp olive oil
  • small bowl for dissolving & proofing yeast (1-cup)
  • small spoon for stirring
  • medium (2-cup) measuring cup
  • for water
  • large bowl for kneading
  • 1-cup, 1 TBsp, 1tsp measuring spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • cake rack to let baked bread cool

[kneading bread]
Kneading: squeeze dough between your fingers and your upper hand
while pushing down with the palm of your hand
  1. Rinse a small cup with water, put in ½ teaspoon sugar;
  2. Bring 1 cup water to a boil;
  3. Put about 8 oz (235 ml) cold water in measuring cup;
  4. Add boiling water to 12 oz (350 ml) mark, stir to mix hot and cold water;
  5. Pour about 3½ oz (100 ml) warm water in the bowl with tsp sugar, stir to dissolve sugar;
  6. Check temperature of sugar water with instant thermometer, it should be about 100°F (37°C), not over 105°F (39°C) - or test like a baby bottle with a drop on your wrist (the proportions hot and cold of course depend on how cold your tap water is - adjust to your situation);
  7. Sprinkle yeast over warm sugar water, stir gently to get all yeast wet, set aside for 5-10 minutes ("proofing yeast");
  8. Put 2 cups wholewheat flour in large bowl (I use a 2-quart (2 liter) large glass measuring cup);
  9. Make a well (hole) in the middle of the flour, put in 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 Tablespoons olive oil and the remaining warm water;
  10. Let it stand for a few minutes, then mix with wooden spoon;
  11. By now, your yeast will be foaming: add and stir well;
  12. Cover with 2 cups white flour (at this point, you could take a 30-minute break);
  13. Mix dry flour into dough, though it's a little unpleasant best done by hand: hold the bowl with one hand while mixing with the other hand;
  14. Rub the dough off your mixing hand, start kneading; if the dough keeps sticking to your hand add a little flour (1-2 TBsp), if the dough is too dry add a little water (1-2 tsp);
  15. The right consistency of dough is difficult to explain from here: I could say, When it's pleasant to the touch, cover and take a five to ten-minute break;
  16. Knead for about eight to ten minutes: at first squeeze between fingers and upper hand while pushing down with lower hand (use your body weight), rotate dough a quarter-turn each push down; about halfway start flattening dough and folding over, in the last minute just squeeze and push again;
  17. Put dough ball back in large bowl and cover, keep in a warm place;
  18. When the dough has risen, "doubled in volume," punch it down, knead lightly, then flatten and roll up, push in ends, lay on parchment paper-covered baking sheet or in a bread pan (grease inside with a little butter, dust with a little flour);
  19. Let dough rise again, one hour or so;
  20. When it has risen enough, turn oven to 425°F (225°C);
  21. Bake a loaf on baking sheet for 23-27 minutes, a loaf in breadpan for 19-24 minutes; a few minutes longer is OK;
  22. Take it our of the oven and knock on it: it should sound hollow; you might check the internal temperature: it should be 180-205°F;
  23. Let the loaf cool down on a cake rack for half an hour;
  24. Cut ½-inch slices with a sharp, serrated knife.

print version

Proofing Yeast

[proofing yeast]

[proofing yeast]
Also note the well in the flour
to put in sugar, salt and oil
(water not yet added)

For your first loaves, buy a 3-packet strip of dry yeast at the supermarket.

When I first saw the Oxo/Good Grips 'diagonal' measuring cup I thought I would have no use for it, but when I finally got one I really came to appreciate the convenience of not having to bend over anymore to read the scale. It works very well for me; but I only use it for water.
It's convenient to hold the handle of the large measuring cup while stirring and mixing.
A good scale makes your baking and cooking life much easier. Since I started weighing the flour my dough has been right the first time: no more tedious and time-consuming corrections of adding water or flour.

The Bread I Usually Make

  1. Rinse a small cup, put in ½ teaspoon of sugar;
  2. Bring a little water to a boil (the minimum amount for most tea kettles is about a cup, 250 ml;)
  3. Measure 7 oz. (210 ml) cold tap water, add 4 oz (120) ml (3½ oz) boiling water (to the 11 oz (330 ml) mark); stir to mix, then pour about half (5-6 oz., 165 ml) in the small cup with sugar; stir lightly to dissolve sugar;
  4. Put 2¼ cups (285g) wholewheat flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle, put in 1 TBsp sugar and 1 tsp salt;
  5. The water in the small cup should be about 100°F (37°C), measure with thermometer or put a drop on your wrist; sprinkle 2 tsp yeast over it while stirring, then leave it alone for 5-10 minutes;
  6. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining half of water to wholewheat flour in the large bowl and mix with a sturdy wooden spoon;
  7. Pour bubbling, foaming yeast over flour and dough and mix well, then cover with 13/4 cups of white flour;
    you could take a 5-30 minute break here;
    mix in white flour, most effectively done by hand, though it's a bit unpleasant; you could still use the wooden spoon;
  8. Let the mixed dough rest for about five minutes;
  9. Take the ball of dough out of the bowl and knead by hand on a flat surface for about ten minutes; I use a 12x15-inch (30x40 cm) glass cutting board, but any clean countertop will do except tiles; add a little flour or water as needed (it shouldn't be too dry or too wet, add small amounts of water when the dough is too tough, a little flour when it's too sticky, it should not stick to your hands;
    then knead for 8-10 minutes: at first squeeze between fingers and upper hand while pushing down with lower hand (use your body weight), rotate dough a little on each push down; about halfway start flattening dough and folding over, in the last minute just squeeze and push again;
  10. Put dough back in large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or an hour to rise ("double in volume"), when it's cold put it in the sun or in a preheated oven at about 110°F (40°C) (turn oven on for 1-1½ minute);
  11. Knead dough lightly ("punch down");
    I always make rolls: divide dough in nine equal portions (each about ~95g, 3½ oz: you'll need a scale. and maybe this is the time to switch to metric); let dough rest for a few minutes (while you preheat oven to 100°F (40°C) and bring a little water to a boil), then shape rolls by pushing thumbs or fingers into the bottom of the ball to get a smooth top surface, then flatten the dough balls; cover baking sheet with parchment paper, put rolls on it, into the oven, also put pan with boiling water in the oven; let rolls rise in the oven for an hour or longer;
    you can also shape the dough into a loaf (flatten and roll up), put it on parchment paper on a baking sheet and let rise again in preheated oven at about 110°F (40°C); have a metal container (like an old cake pan) in the oven and pour some boiling water in it, or bring water to a boil in an old all-metal pan;
  12. When your bread is at the size you want, empty the water container and put in some fresh boiling water or bring the water in your old all-metal pan to a boil again and put it back in the oven, then turn the oven to 425°F (225°C) and bake for 19-27 minutes (the oven is NOT preheated);
    take it out of the oven and knock on it: it should sound hollow, measure internal temperature (it should be 180-205°F; let it cool down on a rack (a loaf for about 30 minutes, rolls can be eaten in five minutes).

print version

[unrisen rolls]
Divide dough in nine equal portions, let rest for 5-10 minutes
[unrisen rolls]
Flatten, let rise in oven for an hour or so
[putting irsen rolls in hte oven]
The rolls are ready for baking!
Notice the pan for hot water.


$0.30 white flour
$0.45 wholewheat flour
$0.20 olive oil
$0.05 yeast (in bulk)
This is about what a 2Lb loaf of bread costs me:
(sugar, salt, baking paper, water, gas, electricity negligible)
Of course, prices vary. If you're trying for the first time,
I'd recomend the small bags of yeast from the supermarket
($2 for 3TBsp); if you get into baking seriously,
buy it in bulk ($4 for 3 Lb.)
Sweet Bread (in preparation)

Basic Bread recipee in steps (print version) - The rolls I usually make

Afterword 2013

[300 dinner rolls] At a boy scouts camp I made about 300 dinner rolls a few times. I had a tub-sized dough kneader and of course some helpers.

I changed a few more things since the last revision.

  • No more boiling water in the oven. I think it damaged the mechanism that lights the gas in the oven.
  • Nowadays I usually add 1 Tablespoon of Wheat Germ and 1 Tablespoon of Ground Flax Seed (Flax Seed Meal) - use 10 g less White Flour.
  • The nine rolls I used to make were a little too much - so now I always make 10 rolls, and to better fit the baking sheet I make them in a kind of hot dog bun shape. A breadroll of this shape is called (het) kadetje click to hear 2 in Dutch, but in Holland it's always of pure white flour.
  • I'm a bit mystified why I used to flatten the dough for the rolls on the baking sheet in the old recipe. When I make dinner rolls nowadays I just put balls of dough on the baking sheet.
['hot dog buns,' not risen]
['hot dog buns,' baked]

Upgrade 2016

I changed the flours to completely whole-wheat. My wife likes it better. The literature says you can't make good bread from 100% stoneground whole-wheat, and indeed the dough didn't rise well. Maybe the stoneground flour doesn't release enough gluten to capture the gases released by the yeast. I had a little trouble finding fineground whole-wheat flour, so I tried adding a tablespoon of pure gluten, but that resulted in a tough dough that was unpleasant to knead, and the rising did not improve. Later I found fineground wholewheat flour in a few stores.

Unexpectedly, wholewheat flour absorbs more water than white flour, so I changed the proportions of flour. What works for me now is:

Occasionally, when my freezer is filling up I work a smaller amount of dough:

Upgrade 2019

I dropped the flaxseed and the 100% wholewheat: Make the sponge dough with the stoneground flour

A smaller amount of dough (for 5 or 6 rolls) I sometimes work with:

See also: Dutch Lunch
Bread-Related Dutch Words

After you've made regular bread a few times you could advance to raisin bread and yeast bread fruit pies; you could also try pizza, but that never worked really well for me

Other Baking

[banana bread, cut]
Banana Bread - Not too hard, low in fat - sour cream, sugar, eggs, flour, banana, raisins, nuts
Rice Flour - with milk, eggs, butter and sugar
[gingerbread ontbijtkoek]
Dutch 'Breakfast' Cake - very low fat - flour, milk, honey, ginger, raisins, pecans, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, cardamom, fennel, pepper - no butter! no eggs!
[rye bread]
Rye Bread, Pumpernickel - surprisingly little rye wholewheat flour, wheat bran, bulgur (cracked wheat,) spelt flakes, rye flakes, molasses

More recipees - Your chef: Marco Schuffelen - email

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