(Based on the essay “For the Love of Bread” posted September 6, 2011.)
Take the bread-baking plunge and try one of the easy bread recipes below. Each requires just a few ingredients. No special kitchen equipment is needed, just shape your loaves into rounds, and bake on a greased cookie sheet.
Bread So Fast It Will Make Your Head Spin
5-6 cups all purpose flour (I use a combination of white and wheat flour.)
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
3 teaspoons of salt
2 cups of hot water
2 tablespoons of oil
Mix four cups of flour with yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour in hot water and beat vigorously 100 strokes, or three minutes with a mixer. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead eight minutes, or if your mixer has a bread hook attachment, mix until a well kneaded ball forms. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Divide into dough two. Shape into two round loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet, or shape into rectangles and place in greased bread pans. Place on the middle shelf of a COLD oven. On the lowest rack of the oven, place a muffin tin pan filled with hot water. Turn oven to 375 degrees, and bake 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom. (If the loaves sounds hollow when you thump on the bottoms, they are done.) Remove loaves from pans immediately and let cool thoroughly on a wire rack before cutting.
My Adapted Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day
3 cups hot water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose white flour or spelt flour
In a large bowl with a lid, mix yeast and sugar. Add hot water and stir vigorously with a whisk. Add 4 1/2 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add the last two cups of flour incorporating them into the dough completely. Dough will be loose, and no kneading is necessary. Sprinkle a handful of flour over the top of the dough and place it in the refrigerator. (I usually do this eight hours or so before I want to use the dough.)
When you are ready to bake, remove bowl from refrigerator. Sprinkle another handful of flour over the top of the dough. Grease whatever kind of baking pan you are using depending on the kind of bread you are making. Scoop up a grapefruit size ball of dough and shape as desired (round loaves, bread loaves, rolls, focaccia, pizza crust, baguette, etc…) Allow to rest while preheating the oven to 450 degrees. On the lowest rack of the oven, place a muffin tin pan filled with hot water. Bake until bread is golden brown. (If bread sounds hollow when you thump on the bottom, it is done.) Remove pan immediately, and let bread cool thoroughly on a wire rack before cutting.