Thursday, January 17, 2013

Super-Simple EZ Bake Bread or SSEZBB

Home baked bread is the easiest thing to make. No. Really. All it takes is a little time. I know, that’s something none of us have but if you use an early morning, one weekend, you’ll never regret it.

This bread will have no additives, no chemicals, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. All great to go without. And your family will thank you for it. Maybe not today, but one day.

I only want healthy food around my house. You know organic, locally grown, Omega 3 type food and I absolutely love Dave's Killer Bread (which if you can't bake is a great option) but at four loaves for $32.00, which includes shipping, I'm thinking I can save a little money by baking a few loaves on the weekend.

Baking over the years, I’ve learned a couple of tips and tricks and I’m going to share them so “Shoosh” don’t tell anyone my secrets.

TRICK #1: Tweak to your own taste

Most bakers stick strictly to their recipes . . . NOT I, like the little red hen. I have to tweak and twist everything a little. I’m always hoping to perfect my pastries and sometimes. . .I get really close. So tweak your recipes to your own taste.

TRICK #2: Factor in the temperature of the house.

Temperature makes a big difference. No. Not the temperature of the oven. The temperature of your house makes a HUGE difference.

I can use the same recipe in the winter as I do in the summer, but it has to be tweaked. In cold weather I don’t need to use as much flour. But in the summer, I need to add an additional ¼ to ½ cup…depending.

TRICK #3: Cover your dough while it bakes.

Cover your bread dough with aluminum foil so it won’t burn on the top as it cooks in the middle. No one wants doughy bread or burnt bread…well, to be honest I like the edges of my bread burnt (a little). I love crispy, crunchy textures. Not my family though. So, if your family is like mine, cover with foil while the bread cooks.

So I pull out my rolling pin, flour and a casserole dish with a lid so I can cover my bread dough while it rises - but you can use foil just as easily or plastic wrap, or even a warm wet towel.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for this super-simple EZ bake bread.

3 ½ cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons (melted) butter (salted-that way you don’t have to buy unsalted butter-and who keeps that on hand, and you don’t have to measure out a tablespoon of salt-EZ tip)
1 package of active dry yeast

Take the warm water and add the active yeast. Let it sit while you melt your butter in the microwave. Then pour the yeast-water and melted butter into a bowl and mix, slowly adding in the flour until you have a ball of dough. Then take your ball of dough and put it in a pre-greased bowl and cover for ½ hour to let rise.

TRICK #4: Let dough rise in heat.

Set your dough bowl on top of the oven while it preheats, the warmth will help your dough rise and make it so much fluffier.

Then knead your dough a bit, right in the bowl, recover and let rise again for another ½ hour.

Then take a bread pan or two and grease them with oil and flour or a non-stick spray. Put your dough in the pan and bake at 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, then pull off your foil and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of melted butter mixed with 1 tablespoon of melted honey. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. I like to pour honey into the cracks when I pull it out of the oven for a little added sweetness. 

Another Tip is to bake in a cooking stone if you have one. It will make sure the temperature is even all the way around. Here's mine, it doesn't look pretty but the food comes out almost perfect every time.

Tip 2: Never Bake Just One Loaf.

I also have a glass bread pan that I use because you can never have too many loaves of bread and baking stones are expensive.

But as you can see, it isn't as pretty when it pops out as the bread from the cooking stone.

Tip #3: This tip is to flip.

I always like to flip my bread over just to make sure the bottom is done the way I want it.

Then I flip it back over and put it on a pretty plate.


EAT while warm – it is sooooo delish!


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Sure, NOW you post an amazing bread recipe when my husband has sworn off bread as part of his New Year's diet...

Rena and Denny said...

Rick loves to bake bread. He eats way more of it than I do, so I guess it works out okay.

I've made it in the crock-pot before, without a special pan. Just baked it right in the crockery part. :)