Once upon a time ago, I was afraid of bread - yeast bread, that is. Years ago I had attempted it and ended up with a brick, so I stuck with quick breads. But then I got brave and purchased a used bread machine at a thrift shop. I was excited when I turned out my first loaf. However, it still wasn't exactly what I wanted. Then I started reading about an easy-to-make crusty bread (I believe Mark Bittman started it). I read that anyone could make this kind of bread. I thought that I fell into the anyone category so I gave it a try. I was so excited when it turned out the way it was supposed to that I took a photo of it
Then I decided to try a different, more traditional kind of bread, the kind that works best in the summer for tomato sandwiches. I've been so happy with the results that I have only bought about 2 loaves of bread in the last year (or maybe longer). I'm far from an expert on bread, though. I'm not sure of the science behind it. I do know that different kinds of flour require different amounts of water. My bread never seems to come out the same each time; but no matter the result, I find it far superior in taste to anything you can get at the grocery store - and much cheaper. Below are my two favorite recipes right now.
|My first loaf of rustic bread|
Rustic Artisan Bread (No Knead)
3 cups flour (you can experiment with different types)
¼ teaspoon yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ¾ - 2 cups water (enough to make dough shaggy)
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and set aside for about 15 hours. Knead it briefly, cover, and let sit another 1 to 2 hours. Heat a covered baking dish (either a Pyrex-style or enameled cast iron pan with a lid and large enough to hold the dough) in a 450° F oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove hot pan from oven, remove lid, sprinkle some flour in the bottom, add dough, cover, and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then turn bread onto cooling rack.
|My first loaf of sandwich-style bread|
One Hour Homemade Bread
5 1/4 cups white bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 rounded tablespoons instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 cups warm water (somewhere between 100 and 115° F)
Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Mix for 1 minute and then check the consistency of the dough. The dough should be very sticky. If it is too dry, add more water. Mix for 5 minutes. (Do not add any more flour after the dough has finished mixing.) Lightly oil kneading surface and turn dough out onto surface. Briefly knead dough until it is smooth. Divide dough into two pieces and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with a large dish towel, place in warm spot, and let rise for 25 minutes. Just before loaves finish rising, preheat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves for 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.