I have found an amazing bread recipe. I was nervous about making my own bread. I had never worked with yeast before. My Dad, who has been making incredible bread, for at least 20 years, swears by Mark Bittman's Sullivan Street Bakery recipe. I had looked at that before, but it still seemed complicated. I came across this recipe while looking for something else. It seemed so easy I had to try it. I think you can mess around with the types of flour, but I'm not brave enough to do that.
Here's the recipe:
4 -5 Loaves of Bread
* 24 ounces hand warm water
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried fast rising yeast
* 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 6 1/2 C unbleached white bread flour
1. Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl - the water should be warm. Not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
2. Add the yeast to the water and then the salt, mix well.
3. Rub the mixing bowl with 1 tbs. oil because the dough is very wet. This will help you get it out of the bowl. Add all the flour and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a dough hook until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Leave the bread dough in the mixing bowl and cover loosely.
5. Proof for 2 hours on the counter or on top of the fridge.
6. The dough can now be stored in the fridge or you can use the dough to make a loaf of bread immediately. I store mine in a large tupperware which I also rub with oil.
7. If baking a loaf of bread now, pre-heat the oven to 450F and place a baking sheet or pizza tray in there. Tear off a large ball, about the size of a small melon, and knead it for about 1 minute with floured hands and on a board with wax paper and flour on it. Shape it as desired or place it in a greased and floured loaf tin. Allow to proof and rise for a further 20. Slash the surface with a sharp serrated knife if you wish.
8. Put bread into oven. Add a small pot of boiling water cover removed to the oven as soon as you add the bread – this steams and bakes the loaf to give a brown crust, a good chewy texture and keeps the inside moist. I bake mine in a small oven proof pot. It gives it a nice shape.
9. Bake at 450F for 40 minutes or until well risen, brown and the loaf sounds hollow when it is tapped on the underside.
10. Remove the bread when baked and cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter, cheese, jam, hams and cold cuts, or slice when cool for sandwiches.
11. Store the excess dough in a large covered bowl or Tupperware in the fridge this will keep for 2 weeks. This amount of dough will make between 4 and 5 loaves of bread, depending on the shape and amount of dough you use.