Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who Doesn't Love Bread?

Quick game of "Word Association" - we say a word, you tell us the first thing that comes to mind. Ready, set...


If you’re like any of us, the word would have sparked heart flutters, drooling, and screams of excitement instead of words. We love bread – I mean…who doesn’t? However, when I think about bread – I think about buying it instead of baking it. There isn’t much better then having bread fresh from the oven, but it always seems so labor intensive and delicate to make. However – that’s not the truth …

The topic of bread came up a when Victoria and Tim were visiting with some friends the other week, and they shared a secret – Bread is EASY! If you have the right recipe, good ingredients and just a few spare minutes, you can have bread all you want!

Here's the recipe:

3 cups bread flour (Our Friends use King Arthur -

1.5 cups water

1 packet of quick yeast

1.5 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine all above ingredients in large bowl. Mix ingredients with a rubber spatula. Mix until all ingredients are combined but do not over mix. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a room temperature spot for 4 hours.

Remove dough from bowl and place on large plate that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Fold it over two times so that olive oil coats the dough. Place already used plastic wrap (let's not waste people!) lightly over the bread. Leave on plate for 1/2 hour.

At the fifteen-minute mark, preheat oven to 450 degrees and place Dutch Oven (the best option or you can use any other round type pot that has a secure top) in the oven while you are heating the oven. Once the 1/2 hour is up, pull the Dutch Oven out of the oven and drop the dough seam side up and shake to evenly displace dough. Cover and bake for 1/2 an hour. Take the top off and cook for another 15-30 minutes or until the bread is a nice dark golden brown. Remove from pot and cool. Enjoy!

I say it again - we love bread. Now that we've got this nice little recipe, expect us to be having the kitchen bake us up some bread to enjoy regularly.

Anyone else have any great quick and easy bread recipes you can share with us?

1 comment:

  1. everything I learned about bread baking actually comes from the book: artisan bread in five minutes a day, so I won't lay claim to anything they haven't already well described.

    the bread making tenets they provide are completely contrary to all deeply ingrained bread making culture and practices, but...its just so ultra easy, and very similar to the dutch oven method you described. no kneading, no proofing, no need to make a 'sponge'...just mix, set it aside, stick the dough in the fridge, and cut off chunks and bake it as you want it. flavor improves with a few days in the fridge, as the yeast adds complexities. best within a week's time.

    this 'fuller' flavor can be carried over from batch to batch, by simply reusing a golf ball sized amount of dough from batch to batch. you develop a 'house flavor' this way ...just don't do this with any enriched doughs.

    one thing I've learned is that water, a major ingredient in bread, is probably the most overlooked component of bread baking. Boston water is VERY low in dissolved minerals, as is most drinking water. and actually, most municipal water also has chlorine and chloramines that are harmful to yeast health, so bottled water is actually best. a medium mineral content water is ideal for a fuller, smoother flavor, so while it might sound a little silly, maybe try using 1/2 evian + 1/2 regular spring water.

    simple variations on the core recipe have allowed me to bang out some nutritious yet delicious oat/wheat bran breads, french baguettes that bake up in 11 minutes, ridiculous fluffy and buttery dinner rolls, and a 9 strand braided challah that is truly at odds with my non-Jew heritage/non grandmother status.

    the dutch oven method ensures high humidity with the lid closed, and then once the 'oven spring' is done, the thick hearty crust can be established.

    the other way to ensure a good crust is to set up a water steam bath, which is just a metal (not glass, even pyrex) baking tray. shape and slash the dough on to a pizza peel, well dusted with coarse cornmeal. after the oven preheats for 15 minutes, slide the dough off pizza peel on to a pizza stone, immediately pour about 1/2 cup of water in to the tray. it'll be super hot and will begin to steam immediately, and will ensure the humidity level in the oven allows for full expansion of the dough.

    for reference, check out their blog for great ideas, and more bread baking tips that your brain can handle:

    and here's their first book (they are coming out with a healthier recipes book soon, too):