17 May 2012, 8:30am
Of Food and Love recipes:
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  • Of Food And Love: The Easiest Homemade Bread Recipe

    I have a barn door sized fear of baking.  Bread in particular.

    For some reason, the whole yeast and flour thing just never worked for me, let alone putting together a pie.  Crust is easy, right?  *smile*  You just don’t know me.  I have the hands of a little bread witch and that’s bad.

    So, when my good friend, Jess, came over with her family one night and plopped the biggest round of bread on our table, which I later found out she had made, I grew a little jealous.  How in the world could she make such a perfect loaf and I can barely get my cookies to set right??
    She passed along this fabulous recipe and was so, so encouraging even after my first attempt at the bread failed THREE TIMES!!  (I told you I wasn’t kidding about the witch hands)

    This is pretty sad pathetic, right?

    My poor bread after a day of trying to *rise*.

    It was really disheartening, especially after she assured me that the recipe was fail safe.  Actually, she was right, because I let it rise for another day and it turned ok.  The bread was a little thick, but it worked!  My 4th attempt was a complete success.  And ever since then, all of my loaves have been astoundingly perfect.  People actually thought I bought it.  Ahhh, that made me feel pretty amazing :)

    Now, we have beautiful looking loaves of bread sitting on our counter.  And, yes, I made them.

    So here it is, from the the book My Bread by Jim Lahey (a MUST buy for all moms, seriously)

    Basic Bread

    (Note:: You need a Dutch Oven for this recipe)

    3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
    1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant or other active dry yeast
    1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups (300-325 grams) cool (55-65 degrees F) water
    additional flour for dusting

    Stir together flour, salt, and yeast. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon for approximately 30 seconds, until you have a wet, sticky dough. Cover bowl and let sit at room temp for 12-18 hours. Dust a work surface with flour and scrape the dough onto the surface. With floured hands, lift edges of dough toward center, tucking in to make it round. Place a moistened tea towel (not terry cloth) over it, and let rise for another 1-2 hours. Half an hour before the end of this rise, preheat oven to 475 degrees F, with rack in lower third of oven, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart heavy pot in center of rack. Using pot holders, carefully remove preheated pot and uncover it. With flour dusted hands, lift dough (will be pretty gooey) and drop into pot. Cover pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and with a heatproof spatula, lift the bread out and place on cooling rack. Don’t slice it until cooled, about one hour. If you don’t consume it that day and need to re-crisp the crust, pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

     

    I’ve made bread in my dutch oven before! My family loves it. For some reason, my loaf didn’t rise as high as I wanted but it was tasty.

     

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