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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.