Daily Bread

I remember coming home from school on days when Mom baked bread. Oh my, how good the house smelled! I can’t think of anything that tastes as good as a slice of fresh bread slathered with butter.

When Mom baked bread it was an all-day effort. I know, because I began baking bread with her recipe when I was a young mom. The kneading, rising, punching down, and rising again took up much of a day and so when I began working outside of the home my bread-making days came to an end.

It’s somewhat ironic that, now that I’m retired and have all day to bake bread if I want, I come across recipes that require no kneading and take no time at all to make. I tried a few different recipes before settling on this one I tweaked from a master recipe in a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

2016-04-05 Bread-1

We no longer buy any bread. I usually bake a loaf or two every week. It couldn’t be easier.

Yield: I get two loaves from this recipe. You can choose to make a loaf of any size you want at baking time so that may vary for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast (Either fast-rising or traditional is fine.)
  • 3 cups lukewarm water

Instructions

Prepare the dough:

Mix dry ingredients together. Add water and mix together–I use my hands. If you’ve made bread the old-fashioned way you’ll find this dough will be wetter than you’re used to. That’s okay.

Cover the bowl and let rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. I use a Tupperware bowl that has a lid. This rising time is flexible. If you’re busy and it rises for 3 or 4 hours that’s fine.

At the end of the rising period put the covered bowl of dough in the refrigerator overnight. This too is flexible. If I need a loaf of bread pronto I’ll skip the overnight period and go straight into making a loaf.

Bake a loaf of bread:

Take a handful of dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball. I use half of this batch for a single loaf.

Let the ball of dough rise on parchment paper for 60-90 minutes. If you’re busy and it ends up rising for more time–no problem.

At the end of the rising time put a cast iron dutch oven in a cold oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Dust the top of the loaf with flour and cut a couple of slashes in the top. This allows the loaf to expand during baking.

When the oven is up to temperature lift the loaf of bread on the parchment paper and put it into the dutch oven.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees and remove the lid from the dutch oven.

Bake for another 18 minutes.

That’s it! You can keep the rest of the dough in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Mine never lasts that long.

There are countless things that you can use this dough for other than making a loaf of bread. Check out the cookbook or the ArtisanBreadInFive.com website for ideas.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you can leave a loaf of bread out uncovered rather than putting it in a plastic bag as I used to do. I just put the cut side down on the board and it stays fresh for the couple of days that a loaf lasts around here.

8 Comment

  1. karenrsanderson says: Reply

    This looks amazing. Is it truly super crunchy-crusty? I love crunchy-crusty.

    1. It’s relatively crunchy. I don’t find it overly so, though.

  2. karenrsanderson says: Reply

    Oh…question. I don’t have a Dutch oven. Could I use a Pampered Chef RockCrok?

    1. I had to google Pampered Chef to see what the RockCrok is! I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it. Worth a try! You can also bake the bread on a stone with a tray of water underneath to provide steam. I didn’t have success with this method–ended up cracking my Pampered Chef baking stone–so I don’t recommend it.

      1. karenrsanderson says: Reply

        The RockCrok – you are supposed to be able to use it on the stove, in the oven, on the bbq grill….I’ve had great success with other dishes, so hoping maybe for some baked bread next weekend.

  3. Sandra says: Reply

    I know what you mean by the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread. Yours in the photo looks beautiful! When my children were small, I used to bake bread twice a week. These days I just do it for fun when I feel like it! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’ve used the Dutch oven method before. It works a treat!

  4. karenrsanderson says: Reply

    I ordered up the gumption to try this, finally. I got the ingredients today. I have my first step completed and I’m waiting the two hours. “This dough will be wetter than you’re used to.” That’s funny to me, because I’m not used to making bread from scratch. And I sure hope I used the right amount of yeast. I am a little embarrassed that I had to look up the 1/2 tbsp part of the yeast. I am reminded of a ridiculous episode of Lucy where she bakes bread. I’ll keep you updated.

    1. So glad you tried the recipe, Karen–and that I’ve since heard that it was a success! I love how Lucy episodes are still relevant to things that happen in our lives today. For me it’s the one where she is working in the candy factory. So many times I’ve felt just like that!

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