Another chilly day here put me at work in the kitchen. I have been wanting to mess with some bread recipes lately and took the opportunity to try one out. I have never put much effort into baking but surely appreciate freshly baked bread. Bread is one of those things that I feel a twinge of guilt when I pick it up at the grocery store. It is relatively simply to make and much more cost effective than comparable products in the markets. This is a recipe that I picked up off of the King Arthur Flour bag but I use half whole wheat flour. I am going to move forward with trying to perfect a recipe or two and not buy bread anymore, so expect more on the subject. I will be working on a sourdough starter over the next few days to get things going. Anywho, back to the task at hand.
- 1 T active dry yeast (one envelope)
- 1 T sugar
- 1 T salt
- 1 C warm water (90-105)
- 6 cups flour (I used half unbleached AP and half whole wheat)
First, we want to mix the first four ingredients and let it sit for aobut 5 minutes. This give the sugar and salt time to dissolve and allows the yeast to bloom or activate.
Next I transferred the liquid to large bowl and started to slowly add the flour to the liquid mix and mix it by hand. (I did use a whisk for the first addition, and then switched to my wooden spatula.
As you add more flour, the mix will come together and start to look a bit ragged.
At this point I turned it out onto my floured workspace and began to knead it. Pushing with the heels of my hand away from me and then flipping and turning 90 degrees and repeating. Get yourself into a nice rhythm and knead it for 4-5 minutes.
Let your dough sit for a minute while you scrape and oil your mixing bowl. Knead the dough for a couple more minutes and place into the bowl turning once or twice to coat with oil.
Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down the dough and knead lightly to pop air bubbles. Cut the dough ball in half.
All we “knead” now is to shape the dough into french or italian style loaves and place on a baking sheet with plenty of corn meal. Make 3-4 slices across the top and brush with cold water.
Preheat the oven to 500 with a shallow dish of water on the bottom shelf. Do not put bread in until water is hot.(I boil the water on the stove and pour into the pan in the oven.
Bake at 500 for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 400 and bake for another 10 minutes or until done.
Yummy! Best smeared with butter while still hot! Stay warm everybody!