Easy Bread recipe....
Basic Bread Ingredients
- 3 packages of yeast, yeast comes in a 3 pack
- 6 cups unbleached bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar, or Honey
- 1 tablespoon salt, sea
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, may use any type
- 3 cups hot water from tap
- 1/2 cup flour, for kneading
My granddaughter has been making this bread since she was eight.
My Grandma Emily used to make bread every weekend in her old wood burning oven. The combined smells of fresh baking bread and that smokiness of the wood stove still live in my mind and make my mouth water.
Grandma would start the bread dough early, before we all woke up. She would have a big pot of coffee for the adults and ice cold fresh squeezed milk, from the cow in the barn, in a stainless steel pitcher.
While the big bowls of dough were rising she would pinch off pieces and, in a large cast iron skillet, she would fry the dough to a puffy golden brown tenderness. She laid these confections on paper towels and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar.
The recipe I am about to share with the world was handed down from generation to generation. My Granddaughter has been making this bread since she was about eight years old so I know you can do it too.
No one in my family can wait for the cooling process so don’t be alarmed if half the bread disappears before dinner is served, there should be plenty as it makes about 15 dinner rolls. If cooking for a large crowd you can make two separate batches.
- In glass bowl add all dry ingredients, stir to mix well. Add hot water and oil; stir until you have all ingredients mixed, your dough will be sticky and hard to stir. Sprinkle the counter with about a half cup of flour and scrape your dough out of the bowl onto the floured work surface. Clean your bowl with hot soapy water and dry well. Pour about two tablespoons olive or other oil into your bowl and set aside.
- Starting from the outside edges of your dough, lift the dough with your fingers pulling it to the center, then with the heel of the palm of your hand push the dough firmly into the center. This is called kneading. Keep doing this, turning the dough and adding a little four as you go to form a soft non sticky ball of dough. It will take about five minutes or so.
- When your dough is smooth and not sticking to the work surface it is ready to go into the bowl. Turn the dough around in the oil to make sure it is all lightly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise to about double. This step can take anywhere from an hour to two hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
- When your dough has risen punch it down with your fist to remove air bubbles.
- If making loaves you will cut this dough in half for two loaves. Place half the dough onto your work surface and shape into cylinder the length of your bread pan. Pour a little oil in each pan, turning the bread dough to coat and let rise until the dough is just above the edges of the pan. It could take an hour or more. Bake at 375 F. for about 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for about five or ten minutes. At this point I rub butter over the top of the crust and then I remove the loaves from the pan and cool on a wire rack before wrapping for storage.
- If making rolls you will pinch off golf ball or little larger, size pieces of dough and knead into small round balls. Place on lightly oiled cookie sheets about an inch apart and let rise to about triple. Place in 375 F oven for about 20 minutes. Crust will be a nice golden brown and your rolls will be touching and grown together. Take out of the oven rub with butter and let cool.
Bread Dough Variations
Here are some variations my family loves:
HERBED LOAVES: For bread loaves that we plan to use for grilled cheese we like to add a tablespoon Herbs de Provence, making sure it’s the blend with lavender and not fennel. Fennel may be good with some cheeses but we prefer lavender. We use sharp white cheddar like Tillamook; add some sliced avocado and even sometimes slim slices of a sweet apple like Fuji. It’s a very good and healthy sandwich without all the chemicals of store bought bread
CINNAMON RAISIN BREAKFAST BREAD; I roll half my dough out and sprinkle with a little cinnamon, sugar and raisins or chopped dates and roll, pinching the seams together before placing in an oiled bread pans.
PIZZA CRUST: We like this bread recipe for pizza crust too as we are fans of the deep dish crust it creates around our toppings as it bakes. After the first rising don’t punch down. Transfer half to a well oiled cookie sheet and, using the tips of your finger, so that you make divots in the dough, spread and stretch it across the whole cookie sheet. I then drizzle olive oil, sprinkle chopped fresh garlic and add whatever toppings I like.
The rest of my family likes the traditional tomato sauce with toppings, I like mine more gourmet and veggie. You can make it however you want it. I have even started making the gluten free pizza crust for myself and this one for everybody else.
CALZONES: I would quarter this recipe for calzones as it’s a lot of bread to consume. Of course two people can share one calzone, even quartered, and be satisfied with a side salad.
HAMBURGER BUNS: Just smash down rolls to a more disc like shape on the cookie sheets, placing farther apart, brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with minced onion or sesame seeds or just omit the egg wash and bake plain.
There are hundreds of uses for bread dough, tell me some of yours!