I like bread. Real bread. Not the crud that you buy in plastic baggies in grocery stores, but the real stuff. The stuff that smells rich and yeasty and like a hundred thousand generations of civilization. The stuff the world was built on.
Yeah. I kind of have a crush on bread.
Unfortunately, people like to screw up bread. They add things that don’t need to be there. Especially grocery store bread. Corn syrup? Soy flour? (What the f- is that?) Milk. Whey Solids? Eggs.
Pretty much they add all kinds of stuff that not only ruins bread, but also makes it so that my girl can’t eat it. There are only two kinds of bread, both made by one bakery, sold by our local grocery stores that she can actually eat.
A couple of months ago that bakery had a couple weeks of shipping issues. In desperation, I threw together the ingredients that I remember being in bread.
It turned out pretty great.
2 cups steaming warm water
3 Tbsps brown sugar (you can substitute white sugar if you’re a complete philistine)
2 cups All Purpose flour
2 tsps salt.
1 packet (or 2 ½ tsps) yeast
2 Tbsps oil
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour (If you substitute white flour here I will haunt your dreams with curses about low texture crap bread. Don’t do it.)
A healthy dose of frustration, anger, or energy. Bread is not for the faint of heart.
First pre-heat your oven to 350F.
In a large bowl combine water, brown sugar, 2 C. All purpose flour and yeast. Cover with a towel and leave on top of your stove (near the warmth of the pre-heating oven) to rise.
A word about bread: Bread likes to be warm. If your bread isn’t kept warm the yeast will revolt and not rise and you’ll end up with … … I don’t honestly know. I’ve never let my bread get cold. It’s bad though. It might end up trying to mutiny and abduct your women-folk. So, keep your bread warm.
Right, back to bread. Your mixture should look bubbly by now. If it doesn’t then you have one of three problems: your water was too cold, your water was too hot, or your yeast had expired (be sure to check the expiration date.)
Add in your oil and salt and stir in two cups of the whole wheat flour. Keep adding flour gradually until no more will mix in. Pour the remaining flour on your clean counter. Dump the dough onto the counter. Knead the dough for fifteen minutes (if you’re doing it right this will burn off aggression and energy), until it forms a smooth elastic ball. Return to the bowl and set back on the stove with a towel covering it. Allow it to rise 45 minutes or until doubled.
Dump the dough back onto the counter. Punch it down. It can be cathartic. I don’t mind. Neither does the bread.
Knead it for five minutes that divide it as needed and shape it into loaves or shape it into baguettes and place it on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. After removing from oven brush with oil for a pretty crust.
You have just created civilization. Or bread. Some people call it bread.