So I have ten classes left in culinary school. About half of those classes are baking/pastry. I’m not a strong baker by any means. I honestly avoid baking because I know it’s not something I excel in, so I just never do it. Lately I’ve been wanting to try out some bread recipes because I’m sick of buying bread every week at the grocery. We always have the ingredients on hand to make fresh bread, so why not get some extra baking practice and free bread?! Win, win, win.
I found a really simple bread recipe in my book from school, and ended up altering a few ingredients. I made 3 batches, and the third one was by far the best.
makes enough dough for 6 1 lb loaves
6.5 cups of AP (all purpose) flour
1 tbsp of active yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 tbsp kosher salt
Mix water, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand up mixer. Add all the flour at once, put the bowl on the mixer and mix on medium with the dough hook until a sticky dough forms.
Transfer the dough into a food container. I just used a tall, plastic Rubbermaid container. Place the lid on top of the container, but don’t snap it shut. Let the dough rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The dough should almost fill the container after 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, flour your hands and grab a piece of dough from the container. Weigh the piece of the dough on a kitchen scale, making sure each loaf weighs about 1 lb. If you’re just making one loaf and have leftover dough, snap the lip on and refrigerate up to two weeks. The dough will deflate a little when it’s refrigerated, so don’t panic. It’s still good.
Shape your loaf (flouring your hands as needed), and let it rest at room temperature on a piece of parchment paper for 50 minutes.
After 50 minutes, score the top of the loaf about 1/4 of an inch deep, then place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, place the dough + parchment paper on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove parchment paper and let the bread bake directly on the pan for the last 10 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack, then slice and enjoy!