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Quick, Easy and Delicious – You Can Make This Simple Crusty Bread

If you follow the blog regularly then you know that I write a lot about baking bread. For me, bread baking is a relaxing endeavor and I love the taste and smell of homemade bread more than anything you can buy from the supermarket. Of course, not everyone has time to put into making fresh loaves of bread all of the time. It can be a process and take several hours and a lot of people just feel like it is not worth the effort.But what if you could make fresh loaves of bread that were as easy as possible? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have fresh bread for the sandwich for work tomorrow or to go with your dinner tonight? It can happen if you make use of this recipe from Nick Fox from New York Times Cooking. The idea of the recipe comes from Jeff Hertzberg, a doctor from Minneapolis, who worked to streamline the bread-making process. Now you can have no fuss bread with just a little bit of effort on your part.

Simple Crusty Bread

1 ½ tablespoons yeast

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

6 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

Cornmeal

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the yeast and the salt into 3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in the flour, mixing the flour into the water mixture until there are no dry patches. The dough will be quite loose. Cover the bowl or container, but not with an airtight lid. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake the bread at this point or refrigerate the dough, covered, for as long as two weeks. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; allow the dough to rest for about 40 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining dough or refrigerate it.

Place broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and turn the oven to 450 degrees; heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust the dough with flour, slash the top of the dough with a serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough onto the stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until it is well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Okay, so you can’t make a fresh, homemade loaf bread in 30 minutes but once you have let the dough rise at room temperature and refrigerated it, the hard part is over. It then just becomes taking a portion, letting it rest for 40 minutes and cooking it. This recipe makes enough for 4 loaves of bread so you can get plenty of use out of it. The dough itself is rather sticky when you make it but it is still pretty easy to work with. You don’t have to go through all of the kneading and everything else to prepare it. Once you put it in the oven you can brown it to your liking and it is great for any meal, to use for toast, sandwiches or just to have fresh bread around when you want it. You can even bake all 4 loaves at once and freeze the excess until you want to use it so you always have fresh bread around. I have used this recipe several times to make quicker bread when I know we are having people over for dinner and I want some fresh bread for the meal. It is flavorful, crusty and has a great chew. The picture I took is of loaves that aren’t quite as browned as I normally like but they are still quite good.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Breads, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes

 

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This is the Bread Recipe You Have Been Looking For

I have found over the last several months that I really like making bread. I have a good quality bread maker and use it often, but there is also something about making it all yourself from scratch that I get real enjoyment out of. From the time the yeast begins to bloom and you get that great aroma to getting your hands into the dough and kneading away (don’t forget how great of a workout kneading dough for 10 minutes can be for you) to shaping the dough and smelling it baking in the oven to the time you cut into that first piece and see the steam rise from the loaf as you put some soft butter on the warm bread, it can all be quite wonderful. Needless to say I have tried a lot of different bread recipes in this time frame, but the one I always seem to go back to is this one from King Arthur Flour. King Arthur Flour has been a fantastic source for me for inspiration, baking products and recipes and this bread recipe has turned into my favorite. I make this one about every 10 days or so because it gives me two loaves of bread and it is better than anything you can find yourself buying at any grocery store. The best part about it? It is really easy to make yourself.

French-Style Country Bread

For the Starter:

1 cup cool to lukewarm water (90°F to 100°F)

1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast

1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour or organic bread flour

1/4 cup (1 ounce) white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour

For the Dough:

all of the starter (above)

1 cup lukewarm water (100°F to 115°F)

3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

3 3/4 to 4 cups unbleached bread flour or organic bread flour

1 1/2 to 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, to taste

To make the starter: Stir all of the starter ingredients together in a large bowl to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover the starter with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 2 hours. For the best flavor, let the starter rest longer; overnight (up to 16 hours) is best. If you plan on making the dough in a bread machine, place the sponge ingredients in the bucket of your bread machine and turn the machine on for just a few seconds to mix the ingredients together. Turn the machine off and close the cover, then let the starter rest as directed above.

To make the dough: Stir down the starter with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, 3 1/4 cups of the flour, and the salt. The dough will be a loose, messy mass. Let the dough rest for 12 to 15 minutes, then stir it again; it should become more cohesive and a bit smoother. The dough will handle better once it has had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you’ll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover the container with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it has almost doubled in size (depending on the weather, this could be 1 to 2 hours). If you are going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the refrigerator. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before shaping it. It will warm up and rise at the same time.

Deflate the dough gently, but don’t knock out all the air; this will create those “holes” so important to French bread. For one large loaf, form the dough into a round ball; for two loaves, divide the dough in half and shape into two balls.

Place a semolina or cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Gently place the ball(s) of dough on the baking sheet, seam-side down.

Cover the bread gently with lightly greased plastic wrap and let it rise until it is puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 475°F.

Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust the dough with a little flour. Spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F and spritz the oven with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking.

Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it’s a rich golden brown, and its interior temperature registers at least 190°F on a digital thermometer. The smaller loaves will bake more quickly, so keep your eyes on them.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store the bread loosely wrapped in paper for a couple of days at room temperature; wrap it in plastic and freeze for longer storage.

If you are normally intimidated by the idea of making a starter or making your own bread, don’t be. This recipe makes things simple for you to do and you come out with bread that you will be proud to call your own. The crust of the bread comes out perfectly (spraying mist in the oven makes a big difference here) and the bread itself has the flavor, smell and look that is divine. The bread is great for sandwiches or to serve with any type of meal, makes great toast and is really great any time you want some. I typically leave one loaf out and freeze the other but I still find they are gone in about two weeks. I purchased a lame (pronounced lahm) from King Arthur so that I could score the bread and I am still learning and working with it, but you can create your own great looks and patterns on the bread with it (just be careful; they use razor blades and are incredibly sharp). You could certainly use your bread machine to do all of the kneading and the rise for you if you wanted to, but I love to do that part myself. It makes me feel like I am really creating something of my own. As I said, I make this recipe a lot and highly recommend it.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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20 of Our Best Bread Recipes – Recipes from NYT Cooking

I make a lot of my own bread these days. It just tastes better than just about anything you can get from the store, saves you money and makes the house smell fantastic while it is cooking. it also is not as difficult as many people think it is and once you start making your own bread you will wonder why you never did it before. NYT Cooking has put together 20 great bread recipes to try for nearly any occasion. Check it out!

Source: 20 of Our Best Bread Recipes – Recipes from NYT Cooking

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Biscuits, Breads, Cooking, Cooking Websites

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

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