Easy Bread Recipe

 

Easy Bread Recipe

I’ve never been good at baking bread and I’ve tried. I always found that the bread recipes were quite involved and my end results were always less than satisfactory.  Flavor was secondary to the actual process (you can always add flavor),  I just never ended up with a bread that had good, dense air inside of it or a nice crust on the outside of it…at least until now.  Perfecting an easy bread recipe has been on my bucket list for a whole now (I know, I’m exciting, right?)  And now I have t.  I finally perfected a simple bread recipe that works, is easy to make and gives you high quality bread that you’ll love.

I’ve said before that I work backwards, meaning that I know what I want to achieve and work backwards from there.  Almost like undoing layers in order to layer them again the way I want them to be to build what I want to build.  Confusing? I figure if I can deconstruct a recipe to its base, strengthen the foundation of the base, then I can recreate it the way I want it from that base.  That is particularly true in baking bread.  I just needed to find a good recipe, deconstruct it and build from there.  So after experimenting with a few I came up with  a base I could tweek.  I was really excited to try and see if I could use this base to dial in the flavor and the texture to where I wanted them.

I waited until a Sunday to make this bread because I wasn’t sure how much time I was going to need.  Turns out that after the initial combining of the ingredients (very fast)  the dough must sit out for eight plus hours.  Then you knead it for 10-15 seconds, let it rise again for 2 hours and then you bake it for 45-60 mins  That’s it.  The hardest part of this recipe is the wait time in between steps.  And the hardest part of that is the anticipation of homemade bread.  The first time I made this bread I started it in the morning and found that I was up later than I would have liked in order to finish it.  It was, however, worth the wait.

Everyone in my house devoured the first loaf, slicing it until there was none left.  Hmmm, I must be on to something.  Then I smartened up and started doing two things: 1) I started  it after I dropped the kids off at school in the morning,  finished it off after dinner and had fresh bread the next morning for the kid’s lunches. 2) I started making two loaves every other or every third day so I never ran out.  Also, I can freeze it in a plastic freezer bag, something I plan on doing before family comes in town in a few weeks.

This simple bread recipe is low labor and has great texture and wonderful taste (big 3 in my book)!  And yes, it’s really easy. If I can make this work so can you. It actually works so well I stopped buying bread at the store for my kids lunches. Please give it a try and let me know how it worked for you.  And as always please leave me a comment and let me know what how you did.  Enjoy!

My Easy Bread Recipe

In a bowl whisk together:

  • 3 cups bread  flour(can use AP flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp rapid yeast

Add to flour mixture:

  • 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp water, room temp
  • 6 tbsp mild beer
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

**mix together with rubber spatula until shaggy ball forms.  Cover w plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 8-18 hours.

Remove from bowl and knead 10-15 times on lightly floured surface

Spray a large square of parchment paper with non stick cooking spray.  Place dough ball on parchment. Place parchment in dutch oven.  Loosely cover w plastic wrap.  Let sit 2 hours

Remove plastic.  Make 6″ slit along top.  Spray top with non stick cooking spray.  Cover with lid and put in cold oven.  Set oven to 425 for 30 mins.  Uncover for another 20-30 mins. Should register 210 degrees.

Take out. Let cool on wire rack for 2 hours before serving.

Ninja Tip:  I’ve found that if you turn the oven off 18-20 minutes after the second bake and leave the bread in oven for another 10 mins it is perfect. If not the top of the bread can get too dark while the inside still needs to cook more.  All ovens are different, it could just be mine.

Ninja Tip 2:  You can flavor this bread by adding 1 cup total of rosemary, thyme, parmesan or dried fruits and nuts.  Make it your own!

Tools of the Trade

As with everything else, the tools use you matter.  This may be an easy bread recipe, but the right equipment makes a difference – and with bread it can be a big difference.  So, keeping with tradition I like to let you know what I am using and why.  I am a huge believer in getting the right stuff – the food cooks right and tastes better and it makes my life easier.  When I am baking bread I use 2 different pieces.  I use a cast iron 7.25 quart Le Creust dutch oven or an Emile Henry Bread Cloche.  If I am making baguette’s then I use the Emile Henry Baguette Baker.    These are the best pieces out there for making bread and yes – they truly make a difference in the final product.

There are multiple colors available and, especially with Le Creuset, they will sometimes add or discontinue colors so I linked to the best selection and pricing I could find.

 

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

 Emile Henry Bread Cloche

Emile Henry Baguette Baker

 

The baguette baker is really cool – helps get that nice crusty outside.