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How to Make Delicious Homemade Bread

How to Make Delicious Homemade Bread

Anyone who has ever sliced into a loaf of bread while it’s still warm from the oven and taken a bite knows how glorious freshly-baked bread can be. Few of us are lucky enough to live next-door to a bakery, but homemade bread is far easier to make than you realize, and the end result is as economical as it is delicious.

What You’ll Need:

  • A large bowl
  • A mixer (a hand-mixer will work if you don’t have a countertop one)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoons
  • Spatula
  • Rolling pin
  • Two 9″ x 5″ bread loaf pans
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Butter or margarine

Step 1 – Mixing:

Mixing Dough

    In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups of flour. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and 3 tbsp of butter or margarine on low heat until very warm.

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    Step 2 – Beating:

    Beating bread dough

      Gradually beat the liquid ingredients into the dry ones using your mixer at low speed, until they’re just blended. Increase the speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping the bowl with your spatula. Beat in another 3/4 cup of flour (or enough to make a thick batter), and continue to beat for another few minutes, scraping the bowl often. Then use a wooden spoon to stir in enough flour to make a soft dough (approximately 3 cups).

      Step 3 – Kneading:

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      Kneading Dough

        Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, then form into a large ball, and place it in a pre-buttered bowl, making sure to roll it around so it’s greased all over. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let rise until it doubles in size (roughly 1 hour).

        Step 4 – Rising and Resting:

        Bread

          Punch into the dough by pushing your fist into the center of it, and pulling the edges in. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, cut in half, and cover with the bowl. Let it rest for 20 minutes or so.

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          Step 5 – Forming:

          Forming bread dough

            Butter your two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Use your rolling pin to roll out the dough halves into 12″ x 8″ rectangles, pat them all around to shape them into loaves, and then place them, seam-side down, into the pans.

            Cover them with towels and let the dough rise again in a warm place until doubled (about an hour to an hour and a half).

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            Step 6 – Baking:

            Whole wheat loaves

              Preheat your oven to 400F, and brush the tops of the loaves with a bit o melted butter. Bake them 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden-brown and spring back when you press on them lightly. When you tap the loaves, they should sound slightly hollow inside.

              Set the loaves on a rack to cool for a few minutes, then use a serrated knife to saw off a piece, slather it with your favourite topping, and enjoy. There’s nothing quite like biting into a fresh loaf of bread that you’ve baked yourself, is there?

              Variations

              This is a very basic bread recipe, but you can tweak it various ways to create many different kinds of bread to suit your tastes:

              • Use 4 cups whole-wheat flour and 2 cups all-purpose for a more whole-grain loaf, and add a tbsp of molasses to balance the bitterness of the whole wheat.
              • Add grated cheddar and minced green onions into the dough before it rises, and sprinkle with fresh herbs and a bit of garlic powder.
              • To make cinnamon-raisin bread, pre-soak a cup of raisins in warm water for an hour, drain well, and add them to the dough before setting it to rise, along with 1/4 cup of sugar mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
              • You can add a handful of chopped nuts, fruit, or seeds into the bread for texture and added nutrition, but they may delay the rising time. Try combinations like walnut and chopped apple, flax and honey, or even just pre-soaked sunflower seeds.
              • You can make a pseudo-foccacia bread by adding a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the wet dough mixture (reduce the milk by the amount of oil that you’ve used), and add ingredients such as chopped oil-soaked sundried tomatoes and rosemary, or sliced olives and capers.
              • With this dough, instead of making loaves, you can divide the dough into 6 rolls and bake them as individual kaiser buns instead. These can be made plain, or filled with spinach and feta, broccoli and cheddar, caramelized onion and swiss, etc.

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              Catherine Winter

              Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on November 19, 2019

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

              If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

              1. Create a Daily Plan

              Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

              2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

              Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

              3. Use a Calendar

              Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

              I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

              Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

              4. Use an Organizer

              An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

              These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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              5. Know Your Deadlines

              When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

              But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

              6. Learn to Say “No”

              Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

              Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

              7. Target to Be Early

              When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

              For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

              Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

              8. Time Box Your Activities

              This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

              You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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              9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

              Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

              10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

              Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

              You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

              11. Focus

              Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

              Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

              Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

              12. Block out Distractions

              What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

              I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

              When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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              Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

              13. Track Your Time Spent

              When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

              You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

              14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

              You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

              Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

              15. Prioritize

              Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

              Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

              16. Delegate

              If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

              When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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              17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

              For related work, batch them together.

              For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

              1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
              2. coaching
              3. workshop development
              4. business development
              5. administrative

              I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

              18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

              What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

              One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

              While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

              19. Cut off When You Need To

              The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

              Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

              20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

              Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

              More Time Management Techniques

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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