Today I’m sharing my simple homemade bread recipe. This is one of those recipes that I make so often, I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before! When Eva was first diagnosed with her nut allergy, we figured out that every kind of bread we had been buying was made in a factory that was cross-contaminated with something she was allergic to. Eventually we did find a few brands that were safe, but in the interim I had to learn how to make bread at home if we wanted to eat it.
Granted, many of you probably already make bread but I was not in a breadmaking kind of place at the time. You might as well have told me that I needed to go catch and shear a sheep to make wool if we ever wanted to have new clothes. Then, I stumbled upon the world’s simplest bread recipe and everything got much easier. Now I can whip up a pair of bread loaves without even thinking about it and with fall bringing soups and chilis to our table it’s nice to be able to pull warm bread out of the oven without much effort.
Here is the recipe:
Simple, no? A few notes:
When you’re making the yeast mixture, stir it gently with a fork to make sure everything is combined. Also, be sure your water is just warm enough…I’ve used water that’s too hot on more than one occasion and it pretty much ruins the bread. It should be the same temperature (or even a little cooler) as water that you’d bathe a newborn baby in.
The 5-6 cups of flour is pretty open ended and you can even use more than that if you want. I’ve only ever used 5 cups when I’ve used thicker wheat flour. Most of the time it’s closer to 6 cups for fairly spongy bread and even 7 cups for thicker bread to be used as a base for grilled cheese or something equally hearty. Also, the instructions say to transfer the dough to a greased bowl after you knead it, but I always use a big popcorn bowl, mix it up, and then let it sit there with a towel over it. I do lose a little bit of the dough when it sticks to the edges as I’m transferring it into the bread pans, but hardly enough to warrant dirtying a whole new bowl. Just be sure to set your bowl to soak or wash it immediately after the dough is out – that stuff is like cement if it sits around!
The dough also might seem pretty sticky if you stop at 5-6 cups, but the stickier it is the more it will rise and bubble (assuming your yeast is working) and the result will be delightfully fluffy. Just be sure to grease your pans! I spray mine with olive oil since I prefer the taste and it gives the bread a nice golden crust. Also, let the bread set for a bit before you slice it and if you have to wrap it up while it’s still warm, use wax paper instead of saran wrap or it gets soggy. We store it right on the cutting board, standing up so the cut edge is down, with a tea towel over it. The crust is enough to keep the bread moist but not too moist. Of course, the loaves never last that long so it’s a short term problem!
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