Yeast Bread

I just adore the smell of freshly baked bread! Its the kind of smell that actually roots you to the spot and has you closing your eyess! When I was in college, I used to bake a sun-dried bread but to be honest I haven’t done much bread baking until about a month ago.  I’ve been on the worst bread baking kick you could imagine.  I could have fed a small village in Africa…oh snap! I am in Africa and didn’t feed that small village.  The small village consisted of me and the Mr!

As usual, I digress.  I had seen a video of a no-knead bread and for the life of me couldn’t remember where.  So I decided to scout the web and found this easily amazing recipe from Jim Lahaye at Sullivan Street Bakeries in NY.  Below is his recipe.  It seems way too easy and trust me, it is.  You take all the ingredients and mix them by hand in a large bowl and you cover it and forget about it!

Note: The first time I make a recipe I stick to it but after that I always make the recipe fit me.  For instance, I had some linseed (flax seeds to you) and I incorporated them into my bread.  I mean, we gotta get those pesky Omega-3s somehow right?  I’ve also thrown in some quick oats, fresh rosemary, dried Italian Seasonings for a bread destined to be garlic bread and so on.  You get my point.  I also didn’t have a pyrex dish so I just used my 2.5qt Corningware dish and it worked perfectly! I actually prefer the height of this bread for sandwiches that are stuffed to the gills.

I confess, upper body strength eludes me!  So,  a recipe that calls for no-kneading is A-OK with me.  This is the dough after about 17 hours of proofing.  It will be nice and bubbly!

Dump out the dough onto a well floured surface.  It is going to be a sticky mess.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…flour your hands before you handle the dough

Bring the dough together

Meanwhile, get your toppings for the bread.  I chose wheat bran because that’s what I had in the pantry plus some coarse Semolina.  Got me a rolling pin and wacked the hell out of the bran.  Nice aggression tool that one …

Round out the dough  and dump onto dish towel dusted with your toppings, cover and leave for 2 hours to final rise

Making sure your baking vessel of choice is blazing hot, dump the dough with the fold side up and transfer to oven with lid on

After 30 minutes bake time, remove lid for another 20 minutes

See how nice and golden that got?  That’s as good as I’m going to get it -this bread can get real nice and dark in a regular oven.  I’m currently using a tabletop oven roaster because my oven is broken.  The little ramekin on the side is filled with hot water so that I can add more steam to the baking process.

Holey Moley, do you see that bread structure?

I whipped up some sweet butter (date honey + vegan butter/margarine) and let me tell you, half this loaf was gone before you could say Jack Robinson!!

Here’s the other loaf I made with Flax/Linseeds…pretty huh? You should definitely grind the ones going inside the bread though!

Recipe for: Yeast Bread

Servings: One 1½-pound loaf

Ingredients Directions
  • 3 cups AP or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 5/8 cups water
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack and wait until bread is fully cooled before slicing! Restrain yourself!

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