Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bread Baking Bonanza!

What's a fun thing to do on an 80 degree day?  Bake bread of course!

I've had a craving for homemade bread for a few days and finally decided to tackle it myself.  It was my first attempt, I do believe, at making a real homemade yeast bread, not a quick or sweet type one.  I used this recipe from the New York Times, highly recommended by family and the blogosphere, and man o man it was easy peasy! 

Seriously folks, anyone can make this stuff.  Toss the few ingredients in a bowl, stir, let sit for a couple hours, and bake - and you're done!   Try it, you'll like it, I promise.  

(Thanks Dad for recommending that recipe 100 years ago!  I finally tried it out!)   

Simple Crusty Bread

Published: November 21, 2007, NY Times.  Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

Time: About 45 minutes plus about 3 hours’ resting and rising
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
(Em's note - I went out and about and came back after 5 hrs and it was picture perfect!)

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Yield: 4 loaves. (I used these same measurements and made only 2 loaves - if you made 4 they would be pretty small I think.)

Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.  (I did this method since I don't have a stone - I used 1 loaf pan, and 1 round layer cake pan, since I didn't have 2 loaf pans.  Well, I used to, but the other 2 seems to have disappeared....that's another story.  Anyway, these pans worked out just fine.)

Happy baking!  Go have a sandwich. 


  1. Did you slap some butter on it while it was still warm from the oven? Oh, yum!! ; )

  2. Ha how did you know that was the first thing I did, as soon as it cooled down enough not to burn off my hands? Delish!

    Made an awesome grilled cheese today, too.

  3. I used to make bread every now and then, nothing like those first few slices!! Your loaf looks scrumptious!!