January 10

The Easiest Bread You’ll Ever Make

IMG_9796This bread. I can’t even begin to tell you how easy and wonderful tasting this bread is. I do enjoy making all sorts of bread. I’ve been quite successful with bread. Nothing beats fresh, warm bread. But this recipe… this is a lifesaver when you’re strapped on time.

On New Years Eve, I went to visit a few different friends and drop off my gigantic batch of pudding cookies, and I made mention to one in particular that I had plans of making carbonara and some sort of bread side, but The Fellow™ through me for a loop by having a friend come over to work on the re-wiring of the oven. Since that took up a big chunk of the morning – mainly them being in the kitchen with no room for me to do prep – I decided I needed to do something else. But said friend told me she had an excellent recipe she had been meaning to share with me for bread that requires only one rise, without the use of RapidRise yeast, and is ridiculously versatile. I told her to shoot me the recipe and I was on my way to try out this so-called miracle bread.

The result was awesome. It was quite a bit of dough and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work it into breadsticks, mini loaves with extras for freezing, or what else. I ended up making them into two oval loaves. No particular reason as to why. I sampled a small piece after they came out of the oven and they were the right combination of firm and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The additional sprinkle of salt on the top gave the whole thing a great flavor. It ended up being the perfect match to some soppy carbonara.

Then the other night, I decided to make it again, but this time, with a little flare. Not much, but just a little. I was making lasagna. I make good lasagna. And I was determined to make a good bread to pair with it. Instead of using the standard all all-purpose bread, I halved the recipe, and did half white whole wheat and half unbleached all-purpose. I added a bunch of minced garlic and fresh ground black pepper. The second photo was the final product. A good size round, divided into 8 wedges, and once again topped with coarse salt. It was delicious. And from here on out, I probably won’t be making the all all-purpose loaf, since it lacks any semblance of protein or fiber, like the white whole wheat has.

It truly is such a simple recipe with many options as to what you can do with it. It’s easy to doctor up and it’s using ingredients you probably already have in your house; definitely so if you’re a bread maker. Give it a try and let me know what combinations you’ve put together!

White Wheat Bread

The Easiest Bread You’ll Ever Make

source:  a friend

Ingredients

4 cups unbleached white flour, plus more for kneading
2.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1.5 cups very warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and let proof for about 5 minutes.

2. Turn the oven on to 200ºF. When the oven reaches temperature, turn it off and let it remain closed.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook attached, combine the flour and salt, then add in the melted butter and yeast mixture. Mix the dough for about 5 minutes on low-medium speed. A smooth, barely tacky dough is what you’re after.

4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 2 – 3 minutes, adding a little flour at a time to keep it from sticking to your surface and your hands. Now here’s the fun part:  decide what you’re making with this dough!

∞ form into one large loaf
∞ place into a well-greased loaf pan
∞ divide dough evenly into small balls for dinner rolls
∞ divide dough evenly to make breadsticks
∞ divide dough and shape into hoagie rolls

5. With desired shape, place onto a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and place into the pre-heated oven. Make sure the oven is off! Let rise for about 30 – 40 minutes.

6. When dough has about doubled in size (if not more), remove from the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Do a quick egg wash over the tops (1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water, whisked together), sprinkle coarse salt on the top(s), and set the bread back in the oven. Bake time varies anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes. Obviously the thicker the loaf, the more time it will need to bake. The white loaves took about 30 minutes; the garlic-black pepper loaf, which was about the same size as the white, took about 25 minutes. Golden brown on top and golden brown on the bottom.

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