I made bread, y’all. … No No No… let me repeat…
I MADE BREAD!!!
No mix. No machine. From scratch. (Well, I didn’t grind the flour myself, but you get the idea.) Might not be a big deal to someone out there who lives in the kitchen, but for this self-proclaimed “Queen of the Box-Mix”, this was a damn big deal.
AND – super. crazy. easy. … So that trend has been maintained. 😀 Wanna know the recipe? Ooooof course you do. So here we go!
Supplies & Ingredients:
- 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz) all-purpose flour (do not use bleached all-purpose)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used sea salt)
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
- 2 medium-ish bowls for bread-mixing
- 1 small-ish bowl for yeast-testing
- 2 one-qt pyrex bowls for baking – I used THESE
- wire cooling racks
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and the salt. Set aside. Grease a separate large bowl with butter and set this aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast on top – you don’t have to stir it. Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy or bubbling just a little (it’s really not much, don’t expect a science project here!) – this is just to ensure the yeast is active.
- Now, gently stir and add to the flour bowl. Stir this mixture up with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will be a little sticky, not bad. Scrape the mixture into the greased bowl from Step 1.
- Cover bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour, but 1.5 to 2 hours is better – it will help the 2nd rise go more quickly. [Tip from Alexandra’s Kitchen’s mom: Preheat the oven at its lowest setting for just one minute, then shut off the oven. The goal is to just create a slightly warm environment for the bread. Run a tea towel under hot water and ring it out so it’s just damp. Cover the bowl containing the bread with the damp tea towel and place it in the warm, turned-off oven to rise.]
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Grease two oven-safe bowls (like the pyrex ones linked above) with butter. Using two forks, punch down your dough, scraping it from the sides of the bowl, which it will be clinging to. As you scrape it down, turn the dough over onto itself. Like you’re folding it. You want to loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl, and you want to make sure you’ve punched it down. Take your two forks and divide the dough into two equal portions — eye the center of the mass of dough, and starting from the center and working out, pull the dough apart with the two forks. Then scoop up each half and place into your prepared bowls. This part can be a little tricky, the dough is a little wet & obviously ‘in motion’, so there’s a chance for slippage. If you use smaller forks it’ll likely work best. Try to scoop it up fast and plop it in the bowl in one motion. If you keep the bowls close this should be easy.
- Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it has risen to just below the top of the bowls.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375º and bake for 15 to 17 minutes longer.
- Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks. If you’ve greased the bowls well, the loaves should fall right out onto the cooling racks. If the loaves look a little pale and soft when you’ve turned them out onto your cooling racks, place the loaves into the oven (outside of their bowls) and let them bake for about 5 minutes longer.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Indulge… ‘cuz OMG. I used regular butter on this warm, fabulous bread because it was part of a meal that I wanted to keep fairly straightforward… BUT – I’ve since acquired both honey *and* pumpkin butter, and will be trying both in the very near future.
And there you have it… easy-breezy!
Enjoy, my lovelies.
Recipe modified from alexandra’s kitchen.