Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy Baking Bread

I found this recipe on line but I don't bake it exactly the way they say to.  If we are going to store wheat and flour then we need to learn to bake bread.  I don't know about you but I have always been afraid of baking bread because I thought it took so much time kneading the dough and so much room on your counter.

This bread couldn't be easier and it is so delicious.


6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (white or whole wheat or a combo of the two)
1 1/2 TBS dry active yeast
1 1/2 TBS course Kosher salt
3 cups warm water

Mix flour, yeast and salt together and add the water slowly until all is mixed and wet.  It doesn't have to be soaking wet, you want a dough.  On more humid days I use a bit less water, on drier days I use a bit more water.  Mix in a bowl with a fork until all wet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.  Once it has risen to double its size cut into thirds and form a loaf.  You can put it in a greased loaf pan or just leave it on a cooking stone or a cookie sheet.  Let it rise for another 15-20 minutes while your oven is heating up.  Pre-heat your oven at 400 degrees.  Slice the top of the loaf about 1/2 inch into the dough all the way across length-wise or do a couple slices width-wise.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

The beauty is that you don't have to bake all three loaves at the same time.  You can just do one and then store the rest of the dough covered in your refrigerator for a couple days until you use it.  When you do this, after you take the dough out of the fridge form your loaf and let sit for 30-45 minutes.  Then bake.

I like a softer crust.  If you want a harder crust, put a metal cake pan in the oven  on the lower shelf while preheating and preheat to 450.  Once your oven is ready, pour about 2 cups of water into the pan to make steam and bake your bread on a cookie sheet or preferably a stone.  The steam with make your bread more crusty.

If you want rolls then form little rolls on a cookie sheet and let rise the second time.  Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.  Check them at 15 minutes.

If you want to make freezer rolls form the rolls and bake like above but bake for only about 12 minutes, when they are not quite done yet and not golden brown on top.  Then take them out and let them cool.  Put in freezer Ziploc bags and freeze until you are ready to eat them.  When you take them out of the freezer bake them frozen at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Yum!!!

This bread is delicious with white flour.  I also love it in whole wheat.  I mix half white and half whole wheat flour and increase the yeast to 2 TBS yeast.  This gives it a bit more fluffiness and it won't be so dense.

The bread should last 3-4 days on your counter covered or in a Ziploc bag.  Great for toast in the morning or sandwiches, as well as a wonderful loaf at dinner.  Oh and it makes your house smell so good!!!

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