This recipe is my own conglomeration but owes a great deal to a video tutorial Geek Lady posted on Facebook which got me into actually baking bread semi-successfully for the first time ever. I then heavily tweaked her recipe to suit my own purposes.
4 c all-purpose flour, divided
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 c very hot water
- Stir together 2 c flour, yeast, salt, and sugar
- Add water and stir everything together again. The water should be about 110*F or hot enough that you can stick your fingers in it for a second but not leave them there. (You should be able to get it to come out of the tap this hot if you turn the handle all the way over.)
-Turn the oven to "warm" (or whatever its lowest temperature is) and let it preheat. Once it's done preheating, TURN IT OFF.
- While waiting, take off all your rings and gradually add remaining 2 c of flour, kneading as you go. This step should not take more than 5 minutes or so; you just want to knead enough to incorporate the flour.
NB: Go by the feel of the bread more than by the exact amount of flour. You don't want the dough to be sticky but you want it to be pretty soft and pliable still. If it feels like Play-Doh you've got too much flour.
- Cover the dough and put it in the warmed-and-somewhat-cooled oven for a couple of hours. Go grocery shopping or take a nap or something.
- Take the dough out, preheat oven to "warm" again, turn it off again once it's done.
- While your oven is rewarming, grease a loaf pan, peel your dough off the sides of the bowl (it will have become somewhat sticky while rising), and form it into a rough oblong before dropping it into the pan. It helps to not wash the butter/oil/whatever off your hands in between the two parts of this step.
- Stick the dough back in the oven for a while, maybe an hour or so, until it comes a little ways over the top of the pan.
- Take the risen loaf out of the oven and preheat to 400*.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing.
I would like to figure out some whole-grain variations at some point but for whatever reason life has not allowed for the purchase of the necessary ingredients. I am very busy doing stuff on Facebook, don't you know?
Also, I am quite sure that I am Doing It Wrong somehow when it comes to bread-baking but we haven't died yet so I will carry on.