How about some business and then some bread : D Sound good?
First, Happy Leap Day to you! February 29th … o the babies that are born today! How fun : ) And secondly, if you didn’t notice already, I’d like to happily point out that you are now at townhomemade.com! We got this new domain last night – best husband ever is the story behind this story!
And now for the bread: Do you have 5 extra minutes in your life? Then go buy yeast, flour, and salt – if you don’t have any of those 3 already. And pay your water bill. Okay, that’s it : ) now you’ve got everything you need to make some of the best, easiest bread ever. Also a bowl, some measuring utensils, a pizza stone (though not necessary), one or two cookie sheets, plastic wrap, and parchment paper are quite helpful in this endeavor.
Mkay, so the summed up points from the recipe that I use when making this myself are these:
1. Ingredients: 3c lukewarm water (you don’t want to kill the yeast with water that is too warm), 1.5tablespoons yeast, 1.5tablespoons kosher salt (I’ve just been using a little less than that amount of table salt), 6.5c (2lbs) all-purpose flour
2. Mix water, yeast, and salt in a 5 or 6 quart bowl. Then mix in the flour with a wooden spoon.
3. Cover and leave on the counter for 2 hours. You’re supposed to have a tiny hole in your container’s lid – I just cover it with plastic wrap and pierce a small hole in that.
4. Then (a) put it all the fridge and use over the next two weeks or (b) go ahead and take off a clump of it, shape it into a ball or an oval (adding more flour when shaping as needed), coat the bottom of the dough with flour or cornmeal, and place it on parchment paper to rise for ~40 minutes. And just so you know, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the less sticky it will be as you’re working with it.
5. Put a cookie sheet, with sides, in the bottom of the oven and a pizza stone in the middle of the oven. Heat to 450.
6. Take a bread knife and make 3 quick cuts, about a half inch deep, across the top of your loaf. This will give it that pretty braided, baguette kind of look when it rises again in the oven.
7. Place the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes. Immediately after placing the loaf in the oven, pour about a cup of water into the pan underneath. It should steam and immediately start to evaporate. Remove the parchment paper after 20 minutes.
And a trick I found online was to store leftover bread as shown in the picture below. You don’t have to zip it up in a plastic bag : )
Just place the rest of the uncut loaf face down. This will protect the moist side that’s been exposed by cutting off other slices; the hard crust around the rest will keep it all from getting stale. But do know that this bread won’t last near as long as store bought bread will. We eat our bread that same night that I make it or the next day, never later than that. But that works out just fine, because you make the amount you can eat within a day or so and simply make more when you need it later!
I’d love to hear if you make this! It’s so very good. Speaking of good bread, this is one of my friend’s bread recipes that I have yet to try but know that it must be so very good! Sarah’s a brilliant homemaker, a beautiful mother and wife, and I’m sure after reading her article something close to a bread scientist : ) Okay, so go make some bread!