I’ve been making bread for about seven years now and, while I’ve shared my recipe and methods with people before, it’s a bit complicated. Hopefully the pictures will help make the recipe more clear! I’ll start with the recipe itself.
- water – 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- olive oil – 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
- sugar – 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
- salt – 1 teaspoon
- bread flour – 3 1/4 cups
- active dry yeast – 2 teaspoons
I use regular white flour instead of bread flour because it’s more multi-purpose than bread flour. I’m not sure what the difference is between the two flours since I’ve never used bread flour, but I do know that the recipe works out just fine with regular flour. Whole wheat flour really impacts the recipe though, so that substitution is an advanced technique.
Put all of the ingredients into a stand mixer and mix at the lowest setting until the bread is completely mixed. It should look like this when fully mixed:
The bread once it is fully mixed.
Next, wet a paper towel and put it over the top of the mixing bowl and let sit until the bread rises. This time can vary greatly depending on the temperature in the room. It should rise at least two hours, but preferably until it takes up most of the bowl. In Sunnyvale, I usually make the bread at about 8 or 9 pm and let the bread rise over night. Then I stir it again in the morning and let it rise again until about 5 or 6 pm when I put it into loaf form. Again, some experimentation will be required before you find the right time for your location. Finding the right rise time is one of my favorite parts about moving. At any rate, your bread should look much like this when it’s risen enough:
The dough is ready!
Mix the dough one last time until most of the dough is no longer stuck to the sides of the mixing bowl. Dust a cookie sheet with corn meal to prevent the bread from sticking to the cookie sheet, then form the dough into a loaf and place it on the cookie sheet. Then wet a paper towel again and use it to cover the bread loaf. You want to cover the whole loaf so use extra paper towels if necessary. If you don’t keep the bread moist during this phase of the rising process, there will be crackly bits on the outside and it won’t taste as nice.
The bread in loaf form.
This is a part of the process where I go pretty much straight on time. I let the bread rise in loaf form for one hour to an hour and a half and then preheat the oven. Right now, I’m using a temperature of 425 degrees F. It depends on your oven so some experimentation is necessary. It’s usually somewhere between 400 and 450 degrees F. This is my favorite part about using a different oven. My bread will be over or under cooked for about a month until I find the right temperature. Once the oven is done preheating, I remove the damp paper towel from the loaf, adding a bit more water to the paper towel if it sticks to the loaf, and then stick the bread in the oven.
Ready to put in the oven.
Finally, cook until it’s a nice golden brown color. This depends on your cook temperature so monitor it until you find the right time. It usually takes somewhere around 20 minutes. Move immediately to a cooling rack so that the crust on all sides remains nice and crisp. In about 10 minutes, enjoy!
This one worked out really well.