I don’t know about you, but I LOVE bread. Any & all types of bread. If I had to eat the same food everyday for the rest of my life, it would be fresh bread & butter.
I always wanted to make my own bread, without a bread machine. I wanted to make true, ‘from scratch,’ bread. The only thing is that yeast used to freak me out. I tried cooking with it once, and things did NOT turn out well, so from that point on I just kind of gave up on it. This is rare for me, anything involving cooking I will try over and over again until I get it right. For some reason though, using yeast again was not an option…until a couple of weeks ago.
I really wanted French bread to go with our dinner, but I didn’t feel like going to the store to get it. So I thought I would give baking with yeast one more try. Boy am I glad I did!
This bread turned out PERFECT! SO make tastier than store bought bread, and it was actually pretty easy to make. Although time consuming, worth every second.
(adapted from this recipe)
Yield: 2 large loaves
1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for kneading
1 tablespoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
- Proof Yeast: In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup warm water, sugar, and the two packages of yeast, let stand 10 minutes. If mixture doubles in volume, the yeast is active. (if not, your yeast may be expired)
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast mixture and salt. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. (**Do NOT try to rush your kneading time- be sure to knead the ENTIRE time- even set a timer, if need be.) Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled. (I left it for about 2 hours to rise, but that long is not necessary- at least an hour, I would say.)
- Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
- Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
- With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.
Mmmmm just looking at it again makes me want to bake some more TODAY! I was amazed at HOW good it turned out. It was soft, and fluffy.
This bread was the perfect complement to our pasta dinner- of course served with a bit of butter. Can’t have fresh bread without butter!
The only thing that I did learn, sadly, is that because this bread is home made, there are no preservatives. You either have to eat it within a day or two, or freeze it. We couldn’t eat the whole loaf the first night (thankfully I froze the second loaf right away), and I went to go and eat it a few days later only to have stale bread. Bummer! Now I know.
I actually want to try baking with more yeast. I really enjoyed making this bread, kneading gets out a lot of frustration. I think I may try homemade pizza dough this week, and maybe I’ll branch out even further as time goes on. I don’t know why it took me so long to try using it again, it’s really not that intimidating at all!
Favorite type of bread??
Mine is sourdough.
If you had to chose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?