Saturday, March 5, 2011

Basic Bread Recipe

Recipe 4.

Basic Bread Recipe
(from King Arthur Flour)

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet yeast
2 cups 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 cups All-Purpose Flour

Warning: This recipe takes around 3.5 hours, so if you are going to make real bread, be dedicated.

Yes, I've made bread before. But don't you think a baking project deserves at least a basic bread recipe? Thank you for agreeing.
In a large bowl, combine warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2 cups of white whole wheat flour. Cover mixture with a clean towel and let stand 10 minutes until it is bubbly looking.

Stir in the salt and vegetable oil. Stir in the all-purpose flour one cup at a time until the dough holds together and everything is mixed in (I added a little more water to help the process, but not too much!). Plop the dough onto a floured surface and roll up your sleeves!

My favorite part: knead the dough! So therapeutic.  It might be one of my top 5 favorite things to do. Maybe. Anyway, knead for a solid five minutes. Pick your favorite song and a half to get you through it if this is a painful process for you.  Let the dough rest (ha! and your forearms) while you clean out your mixing bowl and cover the sides with oil.

Knead for one or two more minutes, mainly so you can listen to the second half of that song, and then place it into the oiled bowl. 

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a clean towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1.5 hours. Just to add pressure, make sure you have three handsome young men sitting in your living room waiting for food.

And while you are waiting for the dough to rise, you could make some lemon-peppered chicken, spinach salad, and sauteed squash for dinner. Just an idea.

Once your dough has risen to about double its original size, gently deflate it (by punching it) and turn it back onto that floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form it in any shape you'd like! You can stick it in two bread pans or make round loaves.  I split mine into six even pieces and braided two loaves.

Grease a baking sheet and place your loaves on it.  Cover it with plastic wrap and a towel and then let it rise AGAIN for 30 more minutes.

Finally, bake the loaves for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. When it's golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap it, you've got bread! Cool before eating, please. I don't want to be the cause of a burnt tongue.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the braided bread! You are a professional, my dear. Also, I was thrilled to see a recipe for bread that doesn't require a bread machine or a fancy mixer or anything. We can't afford those things, people!
    You are fabulous. I am so happy to be watching this project unfold.