My first year of marriage was a year of discovery and changes. My husband was a chef and worked over eighteen hours a day. Needless to say, I was home alone a lot. One late night, I was watching Food Network and Mario Batali’s show came on. He talked about baking bread and how it brought families together. I decided to give it a try.
I’d love to tell you it was the most delicious loaf we’d ever tasted but it wasn’t. *laughs* It was compact, flavorless and salty. But my husband loved the smell of fresh bread when he came home from work. So, I started experimenting with different recipes, tweaking things here and there, until I came up with my own recipe (see below).
There’s something beautiful about taking a few ingredients and creating a loaf of homemade bread. I can close my eyes and imagine my ancestors kneading bread dough with me. Using my hands along with flour, yeast and water to create a mouth-watering loaf of bread that rivals the great bakers around the world is a great stress reducer and you’ll never go back to processed bread again.
Don’t think you have enough time? Think again. You can make the dough in less than 15 minutes and let it rise all day (or even overnight). The smell of fresh bread baking will bring your family together and even your neighbours will want a taste.
Directions: Pour warm water into a large bowl (I use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature) and sprinkle yeast over the water. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to activate the yeast. Set aside and let proof for about 20 minutes.
Pour yeast mixture into a large bowl and add sugar, butter and salt. Add flour, one cup at a time, until mixture forms a soft dough. Knead until smooth like a baby bum, about 10-15 minutes. Grease your bowl with some cooking spray or butter and place
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile grease a loaf pan and set aside. Punch down dough to release all the gas and air bubbles. Form into a loaf and place in the loaf pan. Do NOT cover and allow to rise 60-90 minutes (depending on how high you want your bread to be).