No fuss bread
I saw this easy bread recipe on Chef at Home and thought it would be good to try over the weekend. I was looking for something with lower glutton but all in it asks for 3 cups of flour plus ½ cup grains (oats, cooked wild rice, etc). I used ½ cup each: rice, light rye, chickpea flour, and whole-wheat, plus1 cup bread flour and ½ cup of rolled oats for good measure.
- 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup any multi-grain or seed mix (i.e. oatmeal or red river cereal, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc)
- ¼ teaspoon of active dry yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 5/8 cups of warm water
Makes: 1 loaf of bread per recipe.
Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the water and stir until a wet dough forms and continue stirring for about a minute to incorporate all the flour in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place (like direct sunlight) for 14-20 hours. It will double in size.
There are two methods of cooking, per Chef Michael: in a loaf tin or in a covered pot. The methods are like the difference between “Italian” vs “French” loaves of bread. According to Wikipedia, French bread is made with only water, flour, yeast and salt (like this recipe). Their bakers cut slits into the top surface before baking to allow for gas expansion and the bread is cooked with steam in the oven to form a thin crispy crust with large pockets of air on the inside. By contrast, Italian loaves have a chewy, thick crust but a soft and tender center. I think it’s the baking technique that makes the difference, not so much the ingredients, but its hard to tell because there are so many “traditional” recipe variations and there was nothing in Kate Aitken. However, she did have this to say:
Home-made breads or rolls have a fragrance appeal that outdoes the famous Chanel No.5. Add to the sensory attraction these facts – home-made breads and rolls cost one-thrid as much as cake; they use one-third the amount of sugar; they give double the bulk and an infinite variety. Don’t be afraid to try yeast mixtures; once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll find them the most satisfactory batter to make.
Traditional loaf: Knock the dough down and push it into a loaf pan. Rest the dough a second time for 2 to 3 hours; it will rise again and double in size once more. Bake 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 425 degrees F. Remove and let cool on wired rack.
Crispy loaf: wet your hands and generously flour the surface. Quickly form it into a ball. Thoroughly flour a cotton towel and rest the dough on it. Cover it with another floured cotton towel. Let it rise a second time for 2 to 3 hours to double in size. About 30 minutes before it’s ready, preheat your oven and pot with a lid to 450 degrees. Apparently a cast-iron, steel, enamel or ceramic pot will do, but my oven takes so long to preheat, I needed more like 40-45 minutes. Place a piece of parchment on the bottom of the pot (no butter or oil) and, when the dough has fully risen, slide your hand under the towel and quickly invert the delicate dough into the hot pot. Place the lid on the pot and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more, or until browned. Remove and let cool on wired rack. For left overs, you can re-crisp the crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes.
Either way, cut a thick piece and slather with butter before eating. Absolutely delicious!