This bread recipe will change your life!
We’ll maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it will certainly transform your bread making experience.
If you’re a beginner, this is the perfect place to start.
If you enjoy homemade bread but you’re short on time, this is the recipe for you.
It’s simple, quick, and requires no kneading. It uses only 4 ingredients and it can be made with 100% whole wheat flour, all white flour, or a combination of both.
You can mix up the dough, allow it to rise, and bake immediately or you can store it for up to 2 weeks during which time you can bake up a fresh loaf on demand.
It can be formed into baguettes, bread sticks, pizza dough, or Naan bread. (Recipes to follow soon!)
This recipe makes four 1-pound loaves. It can easily be doubled or tripled providing your container is large enough. (See notes below).
Experiment and see how you like it best, but do try it!
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt (I like this brand for its health benefits)
Cornmeal or additional flour for the pan
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You will need a plastic or glass food storage container with a plastic lid (like this one). You can use a 5-quart size. (Mine is marked as 4.5 L, 19 cups, 1.2 Gal). It should not be airtight, so I put 5 small cuts with a knife into my lid. I would imagine that you could use plastic wrap over a glass bowl with a few small slits. This is needed if you plan to store the remaining loaves in the refrigerator for future use. If you plan to use all of the dough immediately, you will not need this container.
If you plan to double or triple the recipe, you will need to make sure your container is large enough or use several containers.
Pour 3 cups of warm water into your container. The water should not be too hot but around 100 degrees.
Add yeast, salt, and flour to the water and mix until combined. You do not need to knead the dough as with traditional bread recipes. You can use a spoon and mix by hand or you can use a large mixer like a Kitchen Aid.
Mix until the dry flour is incorporated into the water. It should only take a few minutes.
If you plan to bake with your dough another day, it can be covered and placed in the refrigerator (for up to 2 weeks) at this point.
If you plan to bake with your dough the same day, cover and allow to rest on the counter for about 2 hours or until it flattens or sinks. The rise time is far less important than with traditional bread recipes. A longer rise time will not affect the results.
Keep in mind, however, that the dough will be stickier than dough that has been stored in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
When you are ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal or flour onto your baking sheet (I like stoneware as it doesn’t allow the bread to sweat). I prefer cornmeal, but use flour if that is what you have. Both will prevent the bread from sticking to your pan.
Sprinkle a small amount of flour (maybe 1/4 of a cup) over approximately 1/4 of the surface of your dough. Grab about 1/4 of the dough out of the bowl and use the flour to allow you to shape your dough into a round loaf or a baguette.
Keep in mind that the flour you sprinkle on your dough is not to be incorporated into the dough but to allow for you to be able to work with the dough without it sticking to your hands as you shape it.
Place your dough onto the prepared pan and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes depending on the warmth of the kitchen. Again, this recipe is not as picky as traditional bread recipes. It will continue to rise and puff up during baking.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees if you are using a standard full-size oven.
If you are using a countertop convection oven (to save on energy and avoid heating your kitchen during the summer months), you will only need to preheat your oven for 5-10 minutes and bake at 350.
If desired, you can sprinkle a tiny amount of flour on the top of your loaf and cut slashes or a tic-tac-toe pattern using a serrated knife.
Bake round loaves for about 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. I usually bake baguettes for 20-25 minutes. (The moisture in the dough makes it far less likely to dry out as compared to a traditional bread recipe so don’t be too concerned about overbaking.)
I check the bottom of the bread to make sure the underside looks nice and baked.
If desired, melt butter over the top of the bread immediately after removing from the oven.
Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator for up to 14 days or freeze in 1-pound portions and defrost before baking.
The longer the dough is left in the refrigerator, the more the developed the flavor and texture become. It begins to take on the characteristics of sourdough.
If you enjoy the sourdough flavor, there is no need to wash the bowl after using if you intend to make another batch!
For the original recipe plus many others, see Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly-baked bread smothered in melted butter. It’s also a more frugal option than store-bought bread.
What do you think? Are you a newbie or an avid bread maker?
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