Bread: The Staff of Life
I've been baking bread every week since March and I think I'll continue even after I'm off quarantine. It's delicious and fresh and fun to do! The loaf above was baked in my LeCreuset small Dutch oven which gives it a crispy crust. It can also be baked in a loaf pan if you want to slice it for sandwiches. Here's the recipe:
2-1/2 tsp Yeast 1 Tbsp Sugar
1 cup warm (115-125 degrees) Water 2-3 cups Bread Flour
1-1/2 tsp Salt 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, bloom the yeast in sugar and water.
When frothy, add in 2 cups flour and salt and mix (using the paddle attachment) one minute. Add flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is moist but not sticky. Knead for about ten minutes with the mixer on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place (use the "proof" setting on your oven if you have it). The dough will double in approximately 40-45 minutes.
Grease your pan. Punch down the dough, form it and place seam down in the pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise again until doubled (approximately 40 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 450. Bake the loaf for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake 30 minutes more.
Remove from the oven and immediately remove from the pan. Cool on a wire rack.
PS: If you don't have bread flour, don't despair - it can be made with all purpose flour too (it just won't rise as much). If you want to make your own bread flour add 1 Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten (I use Bob's Red Mill brand) for every 2-3 cups of all purpose flour.