Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bread, Revisted (aka the easiest, most delicious bread you will ever make)

Recently, I posted about a bread recipe I was trying. I had some success with it, but wasn't totally satisfied.

Today, however, I think I have made the best bread I have ever baked.

I started with The King Arthur Flour recipe for hearth bread (also known as "the easiest loaf of bread you will ever make"), as I did last time. And then, I made it my own.

Graham Flour Hearth Bread
  • 2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbs (approx one packet) dry instant yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar (I used raw, organic sugar, but feel free to substitute honey or other sugar)
  • 1 tbs salt 
  • 2 cups graham flour (I used Bob's Red Mill. This is where you could substitute any whole-wheat flour of your choice. I happened to have graham flour on hand and loved the light, slighty sweet, airy feel I got with it.)
  • 3 - 4.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (it would probably be ok to use a bread flour if that's what you have on hand.)

1. Mix the warm water with the yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and let sit for five minutes. The top of the mixture will look foamy/bubbly.

2. Stir in the graham flour slowly, about a cup at a time. Add in the rest of the flour one cup at a time.You can use a mixer with a dough hook, if you're not like me and have it available and not packed in storage many states away haha. If you are mixing by hand, it will become really tough to stir and I used my hand to knead the flour in while it was still in the bowl.

3. When the flour is mixed in, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes, adding a little flour if the dough gets too sticky. Let it rest for two minutes, then knead for another three minutes. Shape dough into a large ball.

4. Oil a large bowl and set the dough inside, then turn it over so the top is oiled. Cover with a dish towel and let sit in a warm spot for 45 min - 1 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

5. When the dough has doubled, punch it down the bowl and split it in half. Take half and press it out flat. Now, shape it how you like. I tried doing 2 small boule shapes last time, but I had a small pan and a small oven and that didn't work out very well. If you have a normal sized (not a camper sized) kitchen, unlike me, feel free to make boule shapes! This time, I made a Italian loaf, which is a little wider than a French loaf. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Using a sharp knife, slash the bread. On an Italian or French loaf, about three slashes is right. On a boule, you may want to do a criss cross on the top. Gently place your loaves on a greased baking sheet Spray or brush the bread with a cold water. Then, bake until golden brown on top, about 30 - 45 minutes.

See? If I can do this in a camper, you can do this at home! So easy. And you know exactly what is going in to, so there is no need to worry about preservatives or other not so nice additives.

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