Written by: Hannah Kimmel
The warm smell of bread in the oven is something that people have been writing and talking about for ages.
Ask someone about a person in their family that baked bread and they’ll get a happy faraway look in their eyes as they think about it. It makes homes feel homey. It brings people together. It fills the belly and spreads joy. It’s pretty hard to beat the taste and smell of a fresh batch of bread.
Growing up, I was surrounded by people who knew how to cook and bake well. I knew that someday I would want to raise a family of my own, and I began asking the women I knew to teach me their ways. I was especially interested in learning how to bake bread.
A friend from my church invited me over to learn how to make dough. She is an amazing baker and her adult children would bring THEIR children over to have stromboli nights.
She was one of those talented bakers who just knew recipes in her mind… or in other words, understood the science of baking without needing a recipe.
I, on the other hand, had to write her recipe down and I’ve been using it ever since to make bread, pepperoni rolls, and strombolis. It also works for pizza, but it does make a thick dough. For a thin pizza crust, you’ll probably want to use a different recipe.
If you’re interested in creating your own blissful dough balls, read on for my friend’s recipe! It makes a lot of dough, so if you only need a little, cut the recipe in half!
4 cups warm water (more or less as needed)
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
7 cups flour (white, wheat, or mixed)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil plus extra for kneading and covering your dough ball
Step 1: Pour two cups of warm water into a small mixing bowl. (Water should be between 105 and 110 degrees to activate the yeast.) Add ¼ cup of sugar and stir. Stir in dry active yeast and allow to sit until the yeast becomes foamy.
Step 2: Pour seven cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and olive oil and stir together.
Step 3: Add the water, sugar, and yeast mixture to the flour. Begin mixing together. Add the additional two cups of warm water as needed. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water.
Step 4: On a lightly floured surface, begin to knead the dough. To keep the dough from sticking to you, rub a little oil on your hands. You can do this several times if necessary. You’ll want your final dough ball to be soft and pliable.
Step 5: Place your dough ball in a mixing bowl and rub a little oil on top. Cover bowl with a warm damp cloth and allow the dough to rise to at least double its original size.
Once the dough has risen, you’re ready to bake!