Monday, December 12, 2011

You BREAD-er Believe it!

My apologies for the title.  Try as I might I just can't resist corny word play.

As I'm sure you've already deduced (from my insanely clever title) this post is dedicated to bread.

The idea of making bread yourself can lead to a number of reactions: smug (I do that all the time!  I even milled my own flour),  terrified (you let it 'rise'?  like the living dead?), apathetic (meh, that's what Foodtown's for), or curious.

Up until a few weeks ago I found myself in the curious/terrified set.  However I think I've moved into the cautiously optimistic crowd.  That's right kids, that glorious carb fest pictured above I wrought with my own two hands!  In like one hour.  Seriously.   If you'd like this hot bun coming out of your oven then see the recipe after the jump.

Great, so you're still here!  Trust- you will not regret this decision.  To get the ball rolling you will need:

305grams of flour ( I use a varying mix of all-purpose and whole wheat)
3 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp fine salt
4 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup warm water

1.  Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.  Add the water and olive oil and mix to combine.  305 grams of flour is about 2.5 cups, but measure it on a scale if you can.
2.  Knead the dough for 15 minutes.  This is non-negotiable.  Seriously, this may be kind of annoying, but it really is the only 'hard' part of this recipe.  To knead simply push the dough away from you with the heel of your palms, and then fold it over, rotate and repeat.
3.  Pat dough into desired shape and cut a design on top if you wish.  Place the dough in a medium oven safe dish with a lid.  Like this one.

4.  Cover the dish and place in a cold oven and turn the temperature to 400F.  Set the timer for 40 minutes.  After the 40 minutes are up remove the lid and let bake an additional 5 minutes so that the top can brown up.
5.  Cut into it and enjoy your hot bread!

I've 'successfully' completed this recipe three times so far.  Even when you mess up this bread is still pretty good.  The first two times I was lazy and didn't knead the dough for the full 15 minutes.  On the third time I managed to buckle down, and my efforts were greatly rewarded.  Same great taste, but a much larger and lighter loaf!  The first two times the dough didn't expand much and the bread was quite dense.

My second 'lazy loaf' (or would that make it a loafer? hhahahaha... sorry.... I'll stop with the lame jokes.) Anyway, this bread was good, and happily devoured, but it still wasn't as good as the properly made loaf.

So throw your cautions to the wind, give up your bread phobias, and plunge into the doughy pool of deliciousness palms first!

The sweet smell of success = freshly baked bread.

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