Have you heard of the book Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What you Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch? It’s a great concept. The author, Jennifer Reese, walks you through typical foods we eat and weighs the pros and cons of making them versus buying them. (Make hot dog buns, buy hamburger buns – go figure!)
Now I’ll admit this is one of countless books I own that I really want to read in its entirety, but have actually only read bits and pieces. And before I write another word, let me state clearly that all experimental baking has been done by my husband, not me. But as the impartial observer and partaker, I can say that we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make the title item: homemade bread.
A few months back, my husband tried out the bread recipe. It calls for instant yeast, no kneading, and no bread machine. The amount of hands on time is negligible (4 minutes here, 1 minute there, and yeah, you do have to wash your dishes.) There are some hours of letting the dough rise, but that takes all of a glance at the clock or a flick of the timer. And at the end, you have two loaves of wholesome bread! (This has led to a 9:00 Sunday evening habit of eating a slice of warm bread with butter. Consider yourself warned.)
The two loaves last us a full week and are delicious either as sandwich bread or as bread with dinner. (We love to dip ours in olive oil and sea salt.)
It is so simple! Try it!
The Recipe: Everyday Bread
1 tsp instant yeast
3 1/2 cups water
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup flaxseeds (we’ve done a mix of flax and sunflower seeds)
4 tsp kosher salt
1. Oil the inside of two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans (we grease and flour).
2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (yeast, flours, seeds, and salt) and then mix in the liquid. Scrape the dough into the pans. Drape with a clean, damp dish towel and let rise for about 2 hours until level with the tops of the pans.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
4. Bake loaves for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the bread from the pans, return to the oven, and bake directly on the rack for 15 more minutes. The bread is done when it is richly colored and sounds hollow when tapped.
Final tips: If you try this and love it, start buying your flour in bulk at Costco or Sams and buy a large package of yeast (we have ours in the freezer) rather than individual packets!