Bread dough for Bread, Pizza Crust, Rolls, Whatevs

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (Look for the big bag)
  • 1 cup warm water (think a hot bath)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil (any kind works for the most part)
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Stir the yeast, water, sugar, and oil up in a bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. It should foam up. If it doesn’t, your water may have been too hot or too cold.

2. Mix your flour, salt, and the yeast concoction up in a bowl.

3. Knead that shit for about 5 minutes. It will start off super sticky, but will come together into a nice dough. If it’s stays sticky, toss in some more flour. When kneading, you fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself towards you. Press into the dough with the heels of your hands and push away. After each push, rotate the dough 90°. Repeat this process in a rhythmic, rocking motion for 5 minutes, sprinkling only enough flour on your kneading surface to prevent sticking. 

4. Take a ceramic bowl and run a stick of butter all around the bottom & sides,  knead your dough again for 2 to 3 minutes then add to bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and leave it someplace warmish for 1 to 2 hours. 

5. By now your dough should have doubled in size, give it a gentle punch to release the gasses that have built up inside.  HELLO NURSE!!!!!!!!!!!! You have bread dough. 

Here are just some of the stuff you can make from this basic bread recipe:
  • Bagels: Bring pot of salty water to a boil, pull off ball size pieces and make bagel shapes, toss them in the water for about 2 minutes. Pull them out, drip dry, egg-wash the tops and then bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
  • Bread: Lightly score the top of the loaf, brush with cold water, top with egg-wash if you want, bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. (It’s done when it sounds hollow if you knock on the bottom.)
  • Bread Sticks: Pull off ball size pieces and make snake shaped rolls, let them rest on pan while the oven heats, say about 10 minutes, then bake at 400 for 10-20 minutes.
  • Cinnamon Rolls: Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Top with mixture of butter, cinnamon, and sugar (no exact amounts here, do it to your taste, alternate recipe). Roll it up into a log, and cut it into discs. Let them sit 20 minutes in a pan and then bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes.
  • Dinner rolls: Pull off  ball size pieces and roll into a ball. Place on greased pan, let rest 10-20 minutes to rise, top with egg-wash, then bake 375 for 25 minutes.
  • Doughnuts: Using a heavy bottom pot or deep fryer, add oil (at least 2 inches of oil, with 2 inches of space from the surface of the oil to the top of the pot). Bring oil up to 350-360, reduce heat to low, pull off ball size pieces and make doughnut shapes (or just use quarter size pieces), drop into oil, fry 2-3 minutes, turning once. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate. You can totally roll them in sugar or dip it in chocolate.
  • Pizza Crust: Stretch it on a pan, using a fork poke it all over, add whatevs toppings you want (ie: pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni) then bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. 

Here are some other tips you can use:

  • For lighter, crustier bread: let your shaped loaves rise for 45 minutes. Put a roasting pan of water in the oven and then preheat it to 500, bake for 15 minutes. Place bread (dinner rolls) in the oven, bake for 10 minutes, lower oven to 400, bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Add ins: You can add whatever you want to the dough for some variety, like cheddar cheese or garlic.
  • Egg-wash: Crack an egg in a bowl and add a pinch of salt, whisk together. Brush onto bread/rolls before baking for a nice crust.

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