Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Easy Bread-No Machine or Kneading Involved

When it comes to making bread I am lazy. Let's face it- why should we be using our energy to pound and punch a sticky mess of bread goo when we could be using for better stirring up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or a smooth and creamy cheesecake? Besides, bread is a staple. We use a lot of it every day- toast and jam, sandwiches, croutons, french onion soup, bread pudding, snacking with olive oil and balsamic- the choices are endless. For a bread that I can make every day I need it to be shockingly easy. That is where this Easy Bread recipe comes in. It uses 4 ingredients:
That's it.

And you don't even have to really touch the dough with your hands. (Who likes to spend 5 minutes at the sink scraping sticky, yeasty dough from under their fingernails?) The end result is something in between an Italian loaf and sourdough. Quite tasty. Here's what mine usually looked like:

Sometimes I shape the loaf into a long Italian-style loaf instead.  My husband's favorite is to toast it and slather on some butter. He says its very tasty and a loaf usually doesn't last more than 2 days. We eat it with soup, toast in the morning (like I said before) and my new favorite, toasted with cream cheese and fresh pineapple. Rambling aside, here's the recipe:

In a LARGE mixing bowl combine:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. yeast (the kind that comes in the little packets)
1 1/2 cups water

I just stir it around with a rubber scraper until its all moistened. sometimes this requires a few extra drops of water.

Cover loosely with a plastic grocery bag. Let rise for 4 hours.

At the end of 4 hours, flour your counter  and pour out the risen dough. 
Take the rubber scraper and turn it around your bread. Fold in thirds 3 times (meaning tuck the dough ball under itself 3 times).

Spray a pie plate with some PAM. Put the loaf in the pan and sprinkle with flour. Let rise 2 hours.

Right before putting in the oven sprinkle some vegetable oil over the loaf. That will help it crisp on the outside. When you put your loaf in the oven, have a pan with some cold water beside your  loaf in the oven. The steam from the cold water gives it a brown crispy outside and soft inside.

Cook at 500 deg. for 10 min
              450 for 10 min.
              350 for 10 min.

I was first introduced to this recipe by my roommate Ying a couple years ago. Here's how she found it:

Yes! A YouTube video! Watch this if my directions are unclear. There is one difference- He uses 2 tsp. of salt and I use 1 tsp. I felt it was a bit too salty and reducing it made the taste much better.

What kind of bread recipes do you like?

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