relinquishing control and working together with invisible nature..
Back to school is right around the corner. So, with a mountain of last minute summer assignments to complete, or juggling work with kids, you might wonder why you’d ever want a bread recipe for Back to School or the end of summer?
The truth is many of us are making sacrifices to bring healthier options to our families. This means taking a little extra time out of our day to make some homemade goodness. This bread is designed in a way in which you’ll barely have to get your hands dirty (great if you’re juggling kids). The best part is that you’ll be cutting out an enormous number of useless processed ingredients and using purely wheat, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil (or butter if you prefer).
This recipe takes what we’ve been conditioned to recognize as bread (manufactured sliced chemical stuff loaded with sugar) and refashions it into a simple, more flavorful loaf as versatile as a pair of denim. Don’t be put off by the prep and rising time; most of the hard work won’t actually be done by you, but good old fashioned patience.
If you’re intimidated about bread making, you’ll be pleased to know that it is remarkably simple to make; the catch is that it requires you to reach for your primal instincts and practice with your senses. It’s more about revisiting what it means to be human (an animal): relinquishing control and working together with invisible nature; trusting another living thing to give you sustenance. That’s what bread is, after all; another living organism.
This somewhat “no-knead” Soft Bread for Beginners is an amazing home-style bread recipe that is effortless enough to squeeze into your day, and simplified enough to be your first successful attempt at making bread from scratch. You don’t need a fancy mixer (although it will save you a few minutes), just your hands, a rubber spatula, mixing bowl, and elbow grease. You’ll be baking it in a pound cake tin or even a 6” cake pan will do.
Double or quadruple the recipe and bake several loaves at a time so that you can freeze them and thaw them out later so you don’t have to bake new bread every few days―unless you want to! If you’re vegan, just substitute the butter with olive oil.
At Home Soft Bread for Beginners
- 2 ¼ Cups (300g) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup (200ml) Water
- 1 TSP (5g) Instant Yeast
- 1 ¼ TSP (7g) Fine Sea Salt (Do not use table salt with iodine. This will ruin the flavor and possibly the rise).
- 1 TBSP (15g) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 TBSP (15g) Olive Oil or Unsalted Butter (Optional)
In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour, then add the salt (I’m using pink salt here) and yeast at separate ends of the bowl. Yeast is a living thing, so you don’t want to dehydrate and kill it by putting salt directly on it.
Use your hands or rubber spatula to carefully combine the dry ingredients. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment if you have one. Add your water, and olive oil and mix. Below are four visual stages to look for before your dough is ready to rise:
A) The dough is chunky and matte.
B) The dough is beginning to come together.
C) The dough is slowly beginning to stick less to the bowl and takes on a smoother consistency.
D) The dough becomes shiny and smooth. Should come easily from the bowl, but is still sticky in feel. Put water on your hands to handle it.
Line a separate medium bowl with extra virgin olive oil and rub additional oil on your hands. Place the dough ball in the bowl. Spray or rub the top of the dough with a small amount of additional olive oil or pan spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in the refrigerator to ferment overnight or at least for 8 hours.
The next morning, take out the dough and let it sit at room temperature until it triples in size. The prepped dough should appear much smoother. Oil your hands with a small amount of olive oil and punch the dough down. At this point, there is no more kneading. If this is your first bread, it is tempting to play with it, but you’d just be wasting time and energy and possibly squishing out all of the air inside needed for rising.
Gather the dough in your hands and pull it gently to create a smooth surface, keeping an oblong shape as you do so. Notice how it is shining, but don’t pull your bread to the point that this shining surface shreds or has too many dimples.
Place a small pot with 3 cups of water on the bottom shelf of your oven and preheat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC). This pot of water will create steam to make your bread rise better and crust flakier. Keep the oblong shape by gathering the stretched bottom of the dough and curling it into itself. Place the dough into a pound cake tin greased with olive oil or cooking spray. Spray the top of the dough with a small amount of cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap to rise until double the size, which will take approximately 1 to 2 hours. Go by the actual size of the dough versus the length of time.
Once the dough has risen, it is ready to go in the oven. *Notice how mine has a few cracks; this is an unintentional result of me removing the plastic wrap to check the dough’s rise and forgetting to place the plastic wrap back on the bread. As a result, the top layer dried out a bit as it continued to rise, but it will still bake okay.
Being careful not to burn yourself with the steamy oven (had some nostril opening surprises myself), bake the bread in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until you have a golden brown crust. Upon taking out the bread, tap it and listen and feel for hollowness; this means that the bread has developed holes and is evenly baked inside. If the bread feels solid, it needs a few more minutes. A solid bread indicates the bread is still raw on the inside or didn’t bake thoroughly. Evenly brush a tablespoon of olive oil or butter over the surface of the bread. Let the bread rest in the cake tin for at least 15 minutes before releasing it from the mold to continue cooling on a counter top.
Let cool completely before slicing into lovely pieces for sandwiches, toast, or bougie survival bread! Or, you can be impatient and eat it straight away with a wad of butter.
Either way, enjoy!
- Store bought bread is painfully expensive! You can easily purchase an inexpensive bag of flour, a jar of instant yeast, and sea salt and start baking your own bread for a fraction of the cost!
- Congratulations, you just learned a survival skill!
© 2018 Parker Artistry Brands LLC, All Rights Reserved.