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.
Oops! I had written about not finding baking time and temperature on your youtube posting for hardo and then I find it here at your website.
Thanks most kindly. I’m making this tonight. WooHoo!
Greg, that is awesome! I’m really glad you found me over here. How did your bread turn out?
Haha! I was just about to write the same thing as Gregory. So glad you mentioned the website address in the vid or I’d have been a bit lost! Do you think you could update the video, just adding a bit of text saying how long to bake and at what temperature?
I actually live in France so people think it’s hilarious when I tell them I want to make my own bread, but even the best brioche can’t touch hard dough bread, so there :p Mind you, I added some dried fruit in an effort to recreate some bread I bought in a local bakery the other day, it really did taste a bit like hard dough with dried fruit in it, so I thought I’d give it a go.
As someone raised in Europe, where they use the metric system, THANK YOU for acknowledging that it’s impossible to know exactly what is meant by ‘a cup’ of flour! I appreciated the weight measurement, even if it was in lbs, it’s still much more accurate than “a cup” (However, if you also convert the butter and liquid measurements using ml/g or at least oz, I will love you forever 🙂
Also thank you for telling us to add less water if using plain flour as opposed to bread flour. And I think the BIGGEST most helpful tip is the one about using oil instead of flour to handle overly sticky dough. Many a loaf has been ruined in my house due to adding too much flour so I could at least pick it up!
The loaf is currently doing it’s second rise, I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂
So, it’s a kind of semi-success. I think I’ve invented hard dough brioche… i think I may have used too much yeast, it comes in 8 mg packets here, I thought one didn’t look like enough so I used 2. That has made for a loaf that drooped a little on one side once it was cooked and also means the bread has a very “yeasty” taste.
The end result is a nice looking loaf, despite the droop but it’s kind of crispy on the top, rather than the soft crust I was aiming for. The consistency is nowhere near as dense as hard dough bread, but maybe that’s because used plain instead of bread flour.
I call it a hard dough brioche because as soon as my French DH tasted it, he said “You made brioche?!”
In any case, I look forward to trying this again, with bread flour and less yeast
Thanks again for sharing, the video was a great help and I love your granny, she reminds me so much of my great aunty 🙂
Hello, from Orlando, FL. I must make a trip to your side of the world soon. I’m so excited you tried my recipe. Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad the tips I shared helped.
A couple of thoughts regarding your semi-success:
1. When you said the packages of yeast come in 8mg. Could you possibly have meant 8g/ 8gm, instead? Unfortunately, dahling, just one packet alone is way too much – more than twice the amount of yeast called for in this recipe, which in turn will GREATLY affect the texture of the dough. One 8mg packet has just over 2 teaspoons of yeast. By using 2, you’ve introduced 4 teaspoons of yeast – which is 4 times the amount needed to get the right texture. Yeast has one job – to eat sweets and burp – ie, give off gas. The more yeast in the dough, the more gas it will give off. The more gas it gives off, the lighter the dough, the yeastier the taste and since there isn’t enough salt to counter that much yeast activity, the dough will not rise evenly. Does this make sense?
However, it is AMAZING that you would consider making your own bread. I get that 1 packet might have seemed like a little. But a little yeast goes a very long way. May I encourage you to please try it again with just 1 tsp of yeast, think roughly half the packet, and see how it goes?
2. I will ABSOLUTELY revise the video to show the final temps and cooking time, so it makes everyone’s lives easier.
Thank you, again, for trying my recipe. That is a big step. Give a go with my suggestions and let me know how it works out for you. Thanks for the kind words about my granny. She is the quintessential Jamaican granny. I’m glad she reminded you of family.
Hello! So I had another pop at it, with the dried fruit again, and it came out sooo much better this time around! I reduced the yeast, as per your suggestion and put a roasting pan full of hot water in the bottom of the oven to make sure it was warm enough for the bread to rise properly. I also realised that the tin I was using was too big, which, along with the oven being too cold, made it collapse.
FYI, I don’t have an airing cupboard or anything like that, so I let it rise in the oven at 40°C and then turned it up to 190°C to bake after it had risen to just above the top of the tin. It only took around 40-40mins to do that, I’m guessing because my tin is smaller than the one you used.
And voilà! It rose beautifully this time around 🙂 It doesn’t taste too bad, either! I’ve attached pix of the result.
Thanks again Jenn!
Hi nixf01. That is awesome! Your bread looks amazing. I’m glad you were able to make the changes and get better results. I love the addition of dried fruit. I bet it was delicious!
There really are so many factors to consider when making a loaf of bread, so many tricks to improve. I wanted to keep this recipe super simple, kind of a gateway to bread-making. I do, however, teach a more detailed bread-making class. This is perhaps the only time I would say, “It’s a pity you live in France.” It would be nice to talk bread with you.
In any case, congratulations on a job well done!
I came looking for homemade hard dough recipes because my good friend, who grew up in Jamaica, brought some of the store bought kind and it was really good. Figured I could try my hand at making it myself. It is so lovely and dense, hope I can get it right. As I was reading through this post I noticed that the dog you got was a Siberian Husky. I have 2 of them. They are the best. Anyway, even tho I am not a vegan, I do love Caribbean food and Siberian Huskies, so I am going to bookmark your blog.
Thank you for dropping a note. That was so kind. You absolutely can make this loaf. Please make it and send me a pic.
I adore my Bear. We actually have 2 Siberian huskies, Rouxbe and Bear. We rescued Rouxbe about 4 years ago.
Won’t you subscribe to my newsletter? I often share exclusive Caribbean recipes and discounts for classes, etc to my subscribers that you may not find on the website. You can sign up here: http://dajeneats.com/subscribenow/.
Let’s talk again,
Hi DaJen, this is the most delicious bread I ever made, and ate! It was a huge success and all the family loved it. Next time I will need to make a few, as I baked this one last night and only one slice was left this morning. Excited to try more of your recipes soon. I love how you explain the details, e.g. when to add things and why to do things a certain way. You rock. Vegan power ✌
Natalie, I just did gasped. Quite literally, too. Your bread looks amazing! Thank you so much for sending such a kind note. I’m always so excited to hear how the recipes turn out and love knowing that the bits of information I provided are helpful. Yes, please look around and help yourself to more deliciousness. Let me know what you’re cooking next! Jenn
I just wanted to say this bread came out awesome. I am a Canadian adolescent of Jamaican heritage and love cooking and baking new things. Yesterday was my first time making bread with this recipe. Baking bread has been something I have wanted to do for a while, but was scared of due to never working with yeast before. I just happened to have some yeast packets in my cupboard from making a yeast dessert on the weekend and thought maybe i should give baking bread a try, since working with yeast didn’t seem that difficult. After doing a bit of researching i stumbled on your recipe and decided to give it a try. Yesterday, was the first time i made bread, however it was really soft and gummy tasting and i had to throw it out. I was really disappointed but decided i would try again. After doing some research i think i may have under cooked the dough,could have kneaded it some more and due to being eager to eat it, i rushed to cut the hot bread. However, being a perfectionist i tried it again. I did a little adaptation to the recipe by adding two tablespoons more sugar. I also made a well and added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients before kneading. I baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes with no water pan underneath and it came out beautifully. I waited 2 hours before cutting the bread, to insure it was cooled. I just ate a tiny slice of the outside of the bread and it tastes amazing. i may kneed the dough a little longer next time. but i am well pleased. next time i will try adding in some whole wheat flour. thank you for helping me make such a wonderful bread
That is awesome. I’m really glad your second bread came out lovely. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Baking bread, as with many things, gets better with practice and we develop tricks here and there that will help us with the next batch. I am excited for you and the things to come!
Can I use vegetable shortening instead of butter getting ready to try your recipe
Yes you can. The texture will be more flaky, as opposed to buttery soft – but that’s not at all a bad thing. Try it out and let me know what you think.