02/9/14
IMG_0684

crusty no-knead dutch oven bread

I absolutely love baking bread now that I’ve gotten into a good rhythm of it.  Weekly I bake up 3 loaves of soft wheat sandwich bread, and throughout the week I’ve been making this crazy simple no-knead crusty bread I’m sharing with you today.  All it takes is some forethought the morning of, or the night before. That’s the hardest part of this recipe – remembering to mix your dough early enough.  If yeast bread scares you, I challenge you to start with this bread.  I told Jacob it was so easy even he could make it!  Though he said no and insisted I continue to be the one to make it, it really is easy enough a husband could make it.

IMG_0684

I’ve seen a couple of different no-knead breads that are baked in a Dutch oven.  When browsing my Secret Recipe Club pick – A Little Bit of Everything – I instantly knew I had to try out this bread.  The other recipe I’m dying to make are these 5 ingredient pb cookies, which look just as easy as my 3 ingredient pb cookies.

IMG_0728

Julie does a wonderful job on this bread.  So far I’ve made it three times – 1 full recipe and 2 half recipes – I’m going to share the full measurements below.  I made very slight adjustments to the salt and yeast amounts used from the original recipe.

IMG_0526

If you have a Dutch oven, flour, sea salt and yeast on hand, get this bread started!  Better yet, enjoy it with a cheese, sausage and pear spread like we did.  It might just become your new favorite homemade crusty bread!

IMG_0689

No Knead Crusty Bread

Slightly adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours (I’ve done just 9-10 hours with great success too).  Overnight works great.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot (dutch oven) with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.
  3. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

If you end up with leftover bread, try using is in a strata or make some simple pizza breads like we did this weekend.  Spread on the marinara sauce, add chicken sausage + veggies and cheese and broil until melted.  Super delish!

IMG_0730

Have you ever baked bread in a Dutch oven? Do you have a Dutch oven?  What’s your favorite way to use leftover crusty bread?  Let me know if you try this recipe out!

Heather

01/24/14
IMG_0066

homemade soft wheat sandwich bread

It’s Friday, hooray!  I always look forward to the weekend – more time with the hubs, sleeping in on Saturday and just a general relaxed feeling knowing I don’t have to leave the house at a certain time.  We have our 36 week midwife appointment coming up this afternoon.  I think we’ll find out if she’s for sure head down at this one, although at my last appointment the midwife thought she was.  I will be full term on Tuesday, yikes!

I tend to go through bread baking kicks.  Lately I’ve been on one and am happy to say I’ve successfully made a sandwich bread that everyone in the house really likes!  And that’s a tough thing to do… Jacob can be is picky about his bread.  While my preference is 100% whole wheat bread, I’ve yet to make a loaf that he would be willing to eat too.  I came across a recipe on pinterest and decided to give it a go.  It’s made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour.  I should really call it compromise bread like I do with the rice I make (half white, half brown).

IMG_0059

I originally decided to make my own sandwich bread to save us some money.  I haven’t really mentioned it here, but with the new year we are (so far successfully!) making strides on paying our debt down.  Doing that means making sacrifices, and one of those is with the food budget.  I’m down to a strict $75 a week… which is tough for sure.  Rachel, the one who shared the recipe I’m about to share with you guys calculated the cost of making it yourself.  She came up with $3.90 for the 3 loaves.  That’s about the same price as one good loaf of bread.  You know, the kind without 10 million ingredients.  I omitted the flax seed because I had none on hand, so my actual cost would be a little less.

IMG_0063

I ended up making 2 regular loaves and 2 mini loaves.  Thinking it would last us a while I put half in the freezer after making them.  I did not need to do that, because today we are down to the last mini loaf which means I need to bake more tomorrow to get us through the next week!  This bread is amazing.  So soft and pillowy, yet it doesn’t fall apart on you.  I used it for french toast and loved it.  I highly recommend it!

IMG_0066

Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread

slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • oil spray
  • 3 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 ½ tbsp dry active yeast (see note)
  • ¼ cup sucanat or packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, plus 1/2-1 cup more as needed (if dough is too sticky and for dusting the counter)
  • 3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, but plan to use white next time I make this)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional – I didn’t use it and just added more flour in instead)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp vital wheat gluten, optional (use more flour if you don’t use this)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or canola)
  • a cold stick of butter, optional

Directions

  1. In your kitchen aid mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until combined and let stand 10 minutes. Should become foamy on top, if the yeast was activated.
  2. Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed (optional), salt, and vital wheat gluten (optional).
  3. Add olive oil into the yeast/water mixture. Don’t stir. Then, stir in flour mixture until combined.
  4. Using the bread hook, mix dough on a low setting in Kitchen Aid Mixer for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour if it’s too sticky. Stop and take it off the hook every few minutes to assure it’s mixing well. (I do this about 3-4 times.)
  5. Place in a large oil greased bowl. Turn dough ball around in the bowl to get it greased all around. Then cover the bowl with a smooth dishtowel. Set bowl in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Then, divide evenly into three equal parts (or however many loaves you are making) on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Roll out each portion of dough with rolling pin to remove air bubbles (I had never done this before!). Then, roll up each one into a loaf size and put into pan seam-side down. Spray tops of loaves with oil.
  8. Cover and let rise again only until it’s doubled, about 50-90 minutes. Note: Do not let it over rise or the bread will deflate when it bakes!
  9. Bake loaves on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  10. Let loaves completely cool in the pan on a wire rack. Optional: Take a cold stick of butter after it’s done, and run it over the top as soon as it comes out.
  11. Then gently turn the loaves out and slice on a cutting board. Tip: Using a bread knife, saw back and forth and don’t press down on bread.

NOTE: I adjusted the rise times based on what worked for me.  From reading the comments in the original recipe I found out the author used rapid rise yeast, which is why her rise times were about half of what mine ended up being.  If you use regular dry active yeast, your times will be closer to mine.  Room temperature will also add some variation to rise times.

In other news, I knit myself a slouchy beanie!  I kinda love it.  It’s wool and super warm.  I pretty much wear it every morning when I wake up and am standing in the cold kitchen waiting for my hot cup of coffee to be ready.  It came together quickly too.  I’m planning to make a mini one for baby girl so that we match. :)

IMG_0172

What is your favorite sandwich bread to buy or make?  Do you have people in your house that are picky about the kind of bread they eat? 

Have a great weekend!

Heather

04/10/13
just out of the oven

no kneed crusty artisan bread {learn from my mistakes}

I’ve made a lot of bread in my life, but nothing remotely fancy.

Not crusty.

Not artisan.

Not really bread my husband likes, so I end up eating all of it.

I tend to get stuck on the whole wheat bread thing.  If I’m going to make it whole wheat, it needs to be 100%.  Zero white flour.  Because it’s better for you.  BUT…. I eat white bread at restaurants, I eat it at other people’s houses, and I even eat it when I buy it to go with our cheese and wine.  I’m not going to lie, it tastes good!

Then on Monday it hit me… if I’ll buy some fancy crusty white bread, why not just make it?  Just because I’m making bread doesn’t mean it can’t be white!  And so the attempt began…

Have you ever heard of the book artisan bread in 5 minutes a day or healthy bread in 5 minutes a day?  I have the latter one (because I like to be healthy).  Well, the concept is to create a no kneed wet dough that can be refrigerated for up to 14 days.  You make a big batch of dough, so that when you want to make bread, you just cut off a piece, let it sit and then bake.  I wanted to make their master recipe to just start with the basics (and because my friend Alissa made it once when we were at their place – it rocked!).

The internet is a wonderful thing.  On the author’s website I found how to make it: master recipe for artisan bread in 5 minutes a day. I’m not going to share the recipe on here, mainly because it’s in depth and the link above is wonderful.  I am however going to show you how it turned out and tell you some mistakes of mine.

Do as it says, not as I do…

  • I ran of out of white flour so I used 4.5 cups white, 1.75 whole wheat and 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten.
  • Half of my yeast was expired… but it still rose a ton so that must have not mattered!
  • I do not have a pizza stone like they suggest baking it on, so I just baked it on the sheet pan on parchment.  The sheet pan was not preheated in the oven.
  • I also don’t have an oven thermometer like they say to use…
  • Salt – use as much as they say.  I’m not sure why, but I only put like half the recommended amount of salt in.  I also used sea salt since that’s what I had on hand.
  • I couldn’t find my food scale so I just guessed at how much a pound of dough was.

So after all that… how did it turn out?

Still a success!  It LOOKS crusty, although it is not.  The crust was soft.

The inside texture – perfect and soft.

The flavor?  Bland.  Again, go for the recommended amount of salt.

The husband – he ate it!  Although, he said it was bland too.

The pride –> YUP.  :)

I still have enough dough in the fridge for 3 more loaves, so to make it taste better, I’ll add salt on top of it before it bakes, since I can’t really add it into the dough now.  Maybe some olive oil and rosemary too for a little more flavor.

IMG_5600

While this isn’t going to become an every day bread (I need my whole grains!), it will be nice to have with salads throughout the summer months.  We ate it with salmon caesar salad.  And THAT was delicious.

Have you ever made crusty bread?  How did it turn out?  Do you follow directions better than I do?

I have always wanted to make a baguette.  I think once I master the crusty loaf, that’s my next challenge!

Happy hump day all.

Heather