baking bread is an essential in my house. there are very few choices of bread at our local stores that i deem worthing of purchasing and most of those are out of our price range. so what’s a mama to do? make it herself of course!
making bread can be very spiritual. it doesn’t matter what recipe you use. i have seen over a dozen recipes over time of fellow women bloggers. each talk about how they love their recipe. i’ve tried a lot of them but what i’ve learned over time is it doesn’t really matter what recipe you use, it’s all in how you use it. i have been fussing with the same recipe for over 6 years now and have just recently mastered it. i can’t even remember where i found the recipe other than online. i took the basic recipe and started tweaking it…when you make the same recipe 3 or more times a week, you start to get bored and experiment. and that is where you start to master your recipe.
for awhile, i added steel cut oats for texture. then i ran out of them. i added flax seed. the family got tired of that. i switched from sugar to honey. that was fun. i blended flours. interesting. moving the loaves further back into the oven. baking them less. cooling them on a wire rack. add more flour at the beginning. adjusting the water temperature. add more flour to the initial mix. add less flour overall. knead by hand in end instead of mixer doing it. and finally, i started ‘proofing’ my yeast…adding it to the warm water with a bit of sugar, whisking it together and letting it sit before i added it to my flour, sugar/honey, salt. perfection!
my recipe is simple. it is a quick 15 minute rise and then into the oven and ready to eat 45 minutes later. but, the evolution was not simple. i had to make it mine before it was worthy. and now, my family raves over my bread. bread from the store? that’s insane. there is NO comparison. sigh. a mother cook’s dream come true! i never understood about how it takes time to really learn a bread recipe until this past month’s aha! moment with mine…watching the evolution, seeing the perfect loaves, tasting the deliciousness of it.
so, here is my recipe. but, i warn you…it may/will not perform for you until you make it yours. the art of baking bread is in the individual cook (and of course, your oven will vary results as well).
4-6 c flour
1 T. salt
2 T. sugar/honey
2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water (100-110 degrees)
first, mix yeast and water with a pinch or so of sugar. let sit.
in kitchenaid, add 5 cups flour, 2 T. sugar, 1 T. salt. pour in yeast/water. mix until combined and forming a ball. add up to 1 more cup of flour but stop if gets too dry.
knead by hand for a few minutes. put in greased bowl, cover with a hot, wet towel and let sit 15 minutes. while sitting, heat a pot of water to boiling.
divide dough into 2 loaves, your choice…round, loaf, or rolls. it is very versatile. place on top rack of oven.o on bottom rack, place a 9 x 12 baking dish and fill with boiling water. close oven and set at 425. bake for 45 minutes. cool for at least 10 minutes on a rack and then slather with lots of butter and honey or homeade jam and enjoy!