There are a precious few things in the world that I enjoy more than bread fresh out the oven, smothered in non-dairy butter (Earth Balance is my favorite) with a drizzle of agave nectar. I once dated a guy for months longer than I should have because his mom made me fresh bread each week. The idea of losing the hot bread was more powerful to my very young, adult mind than the promise of a happier life with someone else, or just me, or with a dog. But then I grew up – in many ways, it seems. I learned to bake bread and value my peace of mind (perhaps I learned these lessons at the same time) and parted ways with mommy-baking boyfriend. By that, of course, I mean a boyfriend whose mom bakes, not the other more sordid and disturbing interpretation. For all his faults, he never baked his mom – at least not while we were together. Oh, and I got a dog.
I will share with you one of my easiest, most no-fussest bread recipes. Ladies and gents, we do not need to trade happiness for bread. Believe me, we can make our own. BREAD. We can make our own bread! Enjoy my dating advice with a nice side of hot bread.
Let’s Cook together!
4 Tbsp. Cane Sugar
2 Tsp. Instant Dry Yeast
2 Lb. Bread Flour (Roughly 6 Cups)
6 Tbsp. Unsalted Non-dairy Butter (Cut Into Small Chunks)
2 C. Lukewarm Water
6 Tbsp. Lukewarm Water
1 Tbsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
In Kitchenaid bowl, combine flour, yeast, and sugar. Add butter. Use the tips of your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it starts to look like breadcrumbs. (Coating the butter in flour will give the bread a nice, flaky crust. The fat will also shorten the fibers of the flour, which helps to prevent the flour from forming into one big glob. You can also use a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to achieve the same thing.)
- Using dough hook, start mixer with dry mix. Add water. Allow to combine for a few seconds. Then add salt. Mix for 4 minutes.
- Form into a ball. Lightly grease dough and bowl with oil. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl. On a lightly oiled surface, punch dough to remove excess carbon dioxide. Divide dough into two. Flatten dough by hand or with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Using your hands, tightly roll the dough to form a log shape.
- Transfer dough to the oiled bread pan. Allow to rise a second time until it has doubled its size. (45 minutes)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/191 degrees C.
- Place dough in the oven on middle rack. Pour 1/2 cup of water directly on pizza stone. Immediately close oven. The water in the hot pan creates steam which allows the bread to rise even further and results in a lovely crust Bake 20-25 minutes until top is golden.
- Remove bread from oven. Immediately rub the top with butter. After 5 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes.
Note: If dough gets too sticky, avoid the urge to add more flour, as this may result in a harder loaf. Rub your hands and fingers with oil instead. This will cause the dough to not stick to your hands while you’re working with it, but will not change the actual consistency of the dough. Remember, a sticky dough is not a happy dough.