Hi Linda this post is for you. I know I promised to write down the bread recipe that I brought to Sally’s house last week. and I am finally getting around to it. in fact sitting down and writing out all this I decided to get off my duff and mix up some bread so I could measure out everything. now making bread is a little different each time. it isn’t an exact science….actually it is science but so much depends on humidity and temperature that the amount of flour will vary in any household. but with all that said here goes………
well you have probable heard of dump cake….this is a similar recipe but for rustic bread. this is a simple no knead recipe where the mixer does most of the work.
I start with 1 cup of bread flour and 1 packet of dried yeast or 2 1/2 tsp of dried yeast if you buy it in a jar. and a generous squirt of honey(about 1 TBS). pour 2 cups of warm water into the bowl and mix it up. then just cover the bowl and walk away for a while….maybe 10/15 minutes. Now you might have noticed I say bread flour but really if all you have is some all purpose flour go ahead and use it. only a true baker or foodie can tell the difference between the flours I think. and hey if you want to substitute other flours like whole wheat add some in along with the white flour. last week I threw some spelt flour into the mix because I wanted to use it up.
when you come back and check there should be bubbles in your flour and water mixture. this is good…it means the yeast is working and your bread will rise. if there are not bubbling action by now it could mean that your yeast is old which means you will not get a good rise out of your bread. look at the date on your packet of yeast.
but if you have bubbles now its time to add more flour. normally I don’t measure because I have been making bread for a while. I just keep dumping flour in till it feels and looks right. so to start with add 2 cups of flour and turn on the mixer and let it mix up. so after a few minutes the flour starts to turn into a pretty messy looking dough. if you stick your finger in the dough will stick to your fingers. at this point if the phone rings or your dog demands to be let out don’t worry just cover it and go about your business. this spongey dough will be ok.
after the 1st 2 cups of flour I like to add salt. I just pour a bit of sea salt in the palm of my hand and throw it in. since I am trying to write this out I measured and it is a tsp of salt. I don’t add the salt before this point because I read somewhere that salt retards the yeast growth a bit. and I just want the flavor I don’t want to stop the yeast from growing altogether. on occasion I get distracted and forget to add the salt and that is ok too your bread will still rise and taste good.
along with the salt I add more flour. now at this point I add slowly and let the machine mix it up. you want enough flour so the bread holds its shape but you don’t want to add too much and bake heavy dense loaves of bread. so add a half cup at a time and gradually you will see the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl and start to look like some thing you could shape into a loaf. feel the dough with your fingers. it may still be a little sticky but you can see that it is almost there.
it probable still looks a bit sticky and bits are stuck to the side of the bowl so at this point I add a tiny glug of oil. a glug didn’t even fill the tsp when I measured – it’s just a little drizzle. let it continue to mix a few more minutes. I find adding a little oil at this point helps the dough form a nice ball in the mixer. feel it again the dough should feel a little elastic but smooth and not sticky. if it is sticky you need more flour. my dough does need more flour so I measured out another half a cup but I only add half of it. I let it mix and when it is thoroughly mixed I feel again and throw in the rest of the half cup.
if you were kneading this dough at this point you would put it on your bread board and knead and work in tiny amounts of flour maybe a TBS or two at a time until the mixture was just right. but you will have to rely on your eyes and a light touch with your fingers to tell if your dough is ready. if you don’t add enough flour your dough won’t hold the shape of the loaf nicely. it will still taste wonderful – all bread fresh out of the oven taste wonderful – it just won’t be as tall. so slowly I added 4 more TBS of flour and decide its done. the dough is forming a nice ball in the bowl. when I poke a finger into the ball of dough it doesn’t stick to my finger so its ready to rise. I drizzle a little more oil on top and cover it and walk away
yep its that easy. now for the next few hours I will punch down the dough every time I walk by. so that means every 20/30 minutes or when I remember. and by punching since I leave the dough in the mixer bowl I just walk by and turn it on so the mixer punches the dough down.
this bread is ready when I am …. so if I am in a hurry I can put it in a warm place to rise faster. but if I find I need to go out suddenly I can put the bowl in the fridge and slow down the rising until later. but after punching it down 3 or 4 times I am ready to shape loaves.
I am going to make 3 small loaves and bake them on a cookie sheet. my kitchen is not all that warm so before I form the loaves I put the oven on very low temp to warm up while I work. Just a few minutes really maybe you have a warm area in the house you could put the dough by a heat register or something. I take the cookie sheet and put a silpat on it. and then divide my dough into 3 balls. then take the first ball and flatten into a rough rectangle and then roll up jelly roll style. it’s that simple. when I have formed 3 loaves I cover them with some plastic and a towel. now if you feel like it you can put different things on the dough before you roll it up. sometimes I put a little tomato sauce, cheese and pepperonis and roll it into a pizza bread. sometimes I just put cheese or cheese and pepper flakes. even corned beef and swiss cheese is very fun. when the kids were growing up they loved pizza bread. and they loved soup night because I always tried to make fresh bread to go with the soup.
once the loaves are shaped just let them rise one more time. we decided to go for a walk on the lake while the loaves were rising and were gone about 40minutes. when we got home the loaves were double in size. I uncovered the loaves and shut the oven door and turn it on to 350* and set the timer for 20 minutes. 20 minutes is just what I set the timer for it takes a little longer than that. but I will check it… when it is done it will be lightly browned and the loaf will thunk if you tap your finger on it.
I love to bake bread. It warms up the house on chilly days and it smells so good. it makes a meal of leftovers taste just a little more special. plus I feel good feeding my family something where we know all the ingredients that are in it. unfortunately I have to work hard at not eating any of this loveliness. last year our household had some health issues and we went on a caveman diet. I found I really felt better if I didn’t eat glutin but its an incredible hard thing to avoid completely. over the holidays I didn’t behave and follow the diet so once again I am back to watching what I stick in my mouth and trying my best to behave myself.
but I can still watch everyone else enjoy it.