There is no smell in the world more comforting than the smell of homemade bread. Homemade bread can be found in almost every culture and in a variety of forms. Here is how my mother, her mother, and many other generations of Albanian women before them have been making homemade bread.
Albanian Homemade Bread
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
- Min 4 1/4 cups flour
I have to admit, to me, making bread has always seemed like an overly complicated task. But, after watching my mother make it over and over again, I realized it’s really not that difficult.
Start with a large bowl where you will mix all of your ingredients plus have room to allow the bread to rise.
Add the water, sugar, salt, yeast, and oil. Now mix mix mix….
Gradually begin adding the flour till the dough starts to stick together. Now put your upper body to work and start kneading the dough. Knead it into a nice little neat ball.
You can see my mother got down, on the floor, on her hands and knees to add a little more strength to her kneading.
This is what your ball of dough should look like.
Cover the dough with a wet cheesecloth or a wet paper towel and place the bowl in a warm environment where it can rise slowly. We usually place it in the oven. But under no circumstance should you turn the oven on at this point!
This part of the process requires a lot of patience. You have to wait till the dough has risen to over twice it’s the original size.
Once the dough has risen, you can start forming it into smaller balls. (This is of course up to you. You can leave it whole and bake it that way or form it into individual-sized portions.)
You need to let the dough rise again. This helps the bread become lighter and crustier.
Finally, bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Make sure to watch that the bottom of the bread doesn’t burn. To prevent this it’s best to lightly coat the baking dish with a little oil.
Enjoy the wonderful smell of homemade bread that will permeate your home!