There is nothing like the taste and texture of fresh baked bread, yet few people actually make their own bread. Why? Well, if they are anything like me, they are terrified of the process. Baking bread has become one of those tasks that all of our grandparents did that seem entirely too much work in today’s world. That explains the appearance of the home bread maker. I’ve tasted that stuff and while it is still better than the basic store bought crap, it is far from being an artisanal loaf. The truth is that making really nice bread at home doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult.
I did a bunch of reading and combined some elements of a few recipes I found to make this incredibly simple rustic bread. I know you will enjoy it.
- 4 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast. If you have packages, this is 2 packages.
- 2 tblsp of sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 3/4 cup of water, heated to about 120 degrees F
- 2 tblsp of veggie oil
- 4-5 cups of AP flour
In a large bowl, combine salt, sugar, yeast and 2 cups of flour. Make a well in the middle and then slowly add in the hot water and oil as you work your way around the bowl with a silicon spatula. Keep at it, adding in flour little by little until the dough is no longer sticky. You will probably use a little bit more than 4 cups in total.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Press down the dough and then separate into 2 equal pieces. Shape into 2 long loaves and place them on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cover them once again and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Gently moisten the top of the loaves with wet fingers and use a sharp knife to score a few lines across the bread. Just to add to the rustic mouth feel, I dusted the tops of the bread with flour.
Bake for about 25 minutes depending on your oven. Remove when the loaves are golden brown.
We ate one loaf with dinner, while it was still warm. It was good on its own or with a bit of butter. Once it had fully cooled, I wrapped the second loaf well with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Last night, a full 2 days later, we used it to make the best garlic bread I’ve had in ages. Light and crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the outside.
I have always loved the farmer’s bread with a loose flour coating, which is why I chose to dust the loaves with flour. You could leave them au naturel, roll them in corn flour or even give them a coat of egg wash.
Go ahead, give it a try! You will be hooked on making your own bread!