It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, but every once in awhile a thought has to come through my fingers and be shared with the world.
Let it first be said that I love homemade bread. It’s one of those things I occasionally try to make time for in my life. It’s easy to make, but rather time consuming what with all that kneading and rising.
I recently discovered a bread recipe that changed my life. I thought my life changed when I got my Kitchenaid mixer that could KNEAD DOUGH FOR ME, but no. This new recipe requires but 5 minutes of hands on attention and chemistry takes care of the rest.
If you spend enough time on the internets, you’ll find bloggers who talk about “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” I figured those recipes required a high maintenance starter of some kind or were a little too whole grain-y for the kids. (We like our bread white. So sue me.)
But I was wrong about that. Wouldn’t be the first time.
If you have flour, salt, yeast and water at your beck & call, go call them right now. It’s time for some bread-making.
Though it’s easy to make, it does require a couple of kitchen items you wouldn’t normally associate with bread making – a mixing bowl with a cover and a round casserole dish with a cover.
This is the process:
In your covered mixing bowl combine
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Stir with a spoon till all the flour is incorporated. Did you hear that? You don’t even have to touch it!
Then put the cover on your mixing bowl and walk away for 8-10 hours.
I make it in the morning so I can stuff myself on fresh baked bread for dessert at night, but some might prefer to make it at night and bake it in the morning. Okay, I’ll admit, it’s a little ironic that I was complaining about how long it takes to make a loaf of bread with all the kneading and rising, but this kind of hurry up and wait works much better for my schedule. Mix in morning, bake at night.
Whether you’ve just gotten up or just got home from work, it’s go time on the baking process.
Flour your countertop and flop that dough out onto it. With your fingertips (because we wouldn’t want to soil our whole hands), kinda shape it into something roundish and loaf-like. Let it sit for 30 minutes. I’ll repeat, let it sit for 30 minutes. Can you tell I missed that step the first time?
After about 20 minutes, I started preheating the oven to 450. Place a lightly greased casserole dish in the oven while it preheats. At the 30 minute mark, take the preheated, lightly greased casserole dish out of the oven and carefully flop the roundish, loaf-like dough blob into it.
Put the cover on the casserole dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
When you pull it out of the oven, remove the cover to keep steam from building up and making the bread soggy. Full removal from the casserole dish preferred.
And that’s all there is to it. Oh, except cutting it. Use your electric knife if you want to sample warm bread. If you don’t have one, go buy one. A regular serrated knife works fine on cooled bread.
It seems like a lot of steps, but the learning curve is like a bunny hill.
The bread is somewhat chewy, but you won’t break a tooth trying to bite it. It’s got a bit of a tang to it from steeping on the countertop all day, but it’s not a true sourdough. It makes great grilled cheese and even tastes good cold. The toast is out of this world. Ask my mother, who can eat a half a loaf of bread for supper and think nothing of it.
It’s my understanding you can use any kind of flour in this recipe. And don’t ask me how I know, but you can overbake it and it still comes out fine. I used plain white flour, regular salt and regular active yeast. I think the best part is that my kids will eat it, which is pretty cool considering they don’t like bread.
Go here for the printable recipe.