Monday, March 30, 2009

How To Make the World's Easiest and Best Homemade Bread

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to make my own bread. So far, so good. With the exception of a few loaves of French Bread that were free or uber cheap, I have yet to purchase any store made bread this year. I have had a lot of fun trying out new and old bread recipes.

I started with Megan's Real Lovin' Bread (or potato bread, as I call it). This is a great, low maintenance recipe and the perfect place to start with bread making. I was having issues, though, with baking two loaves at once. We never quite made it through the last loaf and I don't have room in the freezer. I also found myself needing to make bread, but either not wanting to or not with enough time to do it (being around for the second rising and all).

I happened upon a blog post about one of my favorite books, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. I baked this bread a while ago (at last a year or so), but hated dealing with the water in the oven (steam makes for a nice crusty bread). Plus I wanted the option of sandwich bread. I found another blog post that fixed both my problems and this is now my go to bread recipe.

Because I don't want any copyright issues, you'll have to click a few places to read directions. The very simple Master Recipe is here. Then go here for directions on mixing and making the bread in a Dutch Oven (yea for now water in the oven!!).

If you want to make sandwich or "regular" bread, here is what I've been doing. First, mix the master recipe in a food safe container. Let rise for 2-5 hours. Put in fridge at least overnight. When you are ready to make sandwich bread, I have found it best to start the night before and allow the dough to rise overnight. This is a very slow rising dough! I found that half the master mix makes a decent loaf of bread. Lightly spray your loaf pan. Scoop out half the dough and form into a loaf. The longer you wait to use the dough, the stickier it will be! Just do your best and put it in the pan. Cover and let rise over night. In the morning, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes. Voila! Bread!

1 Thoughts From Others:

Speedbump Kitchen said...

I have two Le Creuset pots, and no excuse not to have tried this recipe yet. On the two loaf thing...sometimes I freeze one before baking. I do the usual 1st rise, then shape into loaves and put in the pans. One rises as usual to be baked that day, and one goes directly into the freezer, in the pan. Once it's frozen I remove from the pan and wrap it in plastic. When I want bread, I just remove from the freezer and put it back into a pan and let it defrost overnight in the refridge. In the AM, I give it another hour out of the fridge to warm up and then bake it as usual.

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