I love homemade bread. I love the process of making it – the ingredients and the kneading and the smells and the way my kids come running the second their noses pick up the scent. I love how fresh butter doesn’t stand a chance against bread’s warm embrace, and I love how a dab of honey can take a slice from mmm-mmm good to nirvana in the space of a second.
I mean, look at this loaf.
The recipe for this bread is sooo easy to make – honestly, truly, start-to-finish, in a little more than one hour of your time. And completely worth it.
5 1/2 C. Bread Flour
2-4 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Rounded Tbsp. Instant Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. Oil (I use olive)
2 C. Warm Water (warm to the touch – warmer than lukewarm, but not hot on the skin), plus extra
Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Mix for a minute, adding water as needed to get the consistency sticky. Don’t add too much or the dough won’t keep it’s shape. Once you’ve got your sticky consistency, let it mix for five minutes. (HONEST MOMENT: I can never wait a full five minutes, and it’s never been a problem.)
Cover mixing bowl with a towel and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil onto a dry surface. Turn dough out and knead briefly – seriously, like five or six times, just enough to get some of the air out of the dough and make the texture of it smooth.
Separate dough into loaves. I like to make mine into four smaller round loaves, but you can do whatever shape you like. (I keep telling myself I’m going to make some bread-bowl sized, but I can never seem to muster that kind of delayed gratification…I just want to eat it the second it comes out of the oven!) Cover loaves and let rest for 25 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 350.
After loaves have risen, cut a cross or lines into the top of the loaves. (‘NOTHER HONEST MOMENT: I don’t own knives sharp enough to properly do this, so I never can manage that nice, crisp line. I was so desperate the other day I tried using my pizza cutter and the results were laughable. Whatever. It was still delicious.)
Bake those suckers for 25 minutes. Drool as the smell of fresh bread fills your house. Grab some fresh butter and PIG OUT.