“And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:3-4
Words obviously have a lot fewer calories than homemade bread but Jesus fed four thousand people with seven loaves of bread, so with carbs its just all about portion control. HAHAhah But seriously even if you are weary of “simple carbohydrates” like bread you should try making homemade bread at least once for a special treat. It is just delectable.
Baking bread is really very simple. This particular recipe has only 5 ingredients: yeast, bread flour, ground flax seed, water and salt. And the only equipment you need is a large bowl, a spoon and an oven. I always try and substitute some whole grain flours in lieu of using only bread flour to make it more nutritious. The more whole grain flour you add the more the taste and texture can sometimes suffer so experiment to your taste. The bread recipe I follow is adapted from the Joy of Cooking basic bread recipe. The only labor intensive thing about making bread is 5-10 minutes of kneading. The rest of the “work” is just letting it sit there on the counter-top growing and rising which takes pretty much all day. So this recipe needs to be started in the morning. If you start at 9AM you will have homemade bread by 5PM. It is worth the wait.
In a large bowl mix:
1 cup bread flour
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
This mix is your bread “starter”. The yeast blooms in the warm water and “eats” the flour. It takes awhile, 3-5 hours. Leave it on your counter-top at room temperature while it “grows”. Cover the bowl with a dish towel, plastic wrap, or tin foil. Leave the wooden spoon in the mix, you will need it again anyways and it is not going to hurt anything to leave it and then you only have to wash it once.
After 3-5 hours the starter will have bubbles and be twice the size. Add:
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt (I use kosher salt)
1 cup ground flaxseed
Mix well with wooden spoon then start adding bread flour 1 cup at a time. It really depends on the humidity how much bread flour you need to add. Minimum it will be 3 1/2 cups, maximum 5 cups. I don’t even measure, I just keep mixing in flour until it is un-sticky enough to knead without glopping up your fingers (though some dough bits will get stuck on your hands) but not so dry it is “flour-y”. The goal is so keep it as sticky/moist as possible while still being able to knead it. Once it has reached this consistency, knead it. I knead it right in the same bowl, rather than make a mess on the counter-top. Kneading is just folding the dough in half and then pushing it together. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Then pat into a ball leave it in the bowl and pour some olive oil over it (a few tablespoons). Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rise at room temperature for 3-5 hours until it has doubled in size.
Pinch the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf shape. Put each loaf on a piece of parchment or tin foil, pulling up the paper or foil around the sides of the loaves. Place the two loaves side by side against the wall of the counter with a box/something heavy holding them snugly up against the wall (so that they rise upwards and not outwards). Cover with a towel and let rise at room temperature for 1-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 450. Slash the tops of the loaves with a knife (about 1/2″ deep). Bake for 25-30 minutes. This recipe is 100% guaranteed by Spy Garden to be delicious.
Bread dough is pretty forgiving. It is not like baking cookies or pastry dough and doesn’t require such precise measurements. I have kneaded for only 5 minutes and forgotten to add the salt and still ended up with a pretty good final product. Rosemary is a delicious addition to this bread recipe. You can use fresh or dried. 2 tablespoons. You can also add seeds (caraway are good), garlic, Parmesan…experiment with what you like.
Here are a few pics that are completely unrelated to this bread recipe: