Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Daily Bread - The Recipe

Savory bread with dill

This is a very basic bread dough recipe that has many uses, including bread, pizza, and many other baked goods...

It all starts with a few ingredients:

  • Flour - 500 gr/ or 4 cups
  • Water - 300 ml/ 11oz
  • Yeast - 1 pack /8 grams or so
  • Salt - 1,5 teaspoon
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon (yeast love sugar!)

While there are many books and web pages on bread making, this one is just like grandma use to make. Although I have my KitchenAid to help me with mixing, it is pretty much done the old fashion way.

It is hard to give exact measurements for bread as depending on type of wheat that was used to make flower, humidity in the area, the ratio flower/water may wary slightly. For example, I had to adjust the ratio when I moved from humid Seattle to relatively dry Fort Smith. So as my grandma use to say: you need to feel the dough when it is ready.  It just takes some practice. Let's roll up the sleeves and start making a bread.

1. In a measuring cup I dissolve 1 package of dry east, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a cup of warm water. I add water first and stick my finger in it: if it is too hot for my finger, it will be too hot for yeast and it may die (yeast are alive, so to keep it happy, water should be around 120F). Yes, I washed my hands before cheking the water. I leave it for about 5 min until foam starts to build up.

2. While yeast are activating, I measure other ingredients:
500 grams / 17.64oz/ or 4 cups of flour. I use this as a basic bread flour:

3.Then I sift the flour, and add in to a mixing bawl (Kitchenaid), but any other big bawl is good.

4. By this time yeast should have been activated and formed a foam on the top.

Happy yeast...

I add 1,5 teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of oil and stir.

5. Then I slowly add liquid ingredients to the flour in the mixing bawl. I set Kitchenaid on a first speed and run  it for about 2 minutes, until the dough doesn't stick to the wall. Then I take it to a clean kitchen counter and knead it for another 5-7 minutes until it's smooth and satiny  When I shape the dough into the round,  return it to a mixing bawl, cover with towel and plastic wrap on the top, and let it ferment.

Tip: warmer temperature speeds up the fermentation process but slower colder temperature stretches the gluten better so the bread is testier. No wonder grandma's bread was so delicious: she let it proof overnight.

6. Once the dough doubles in it's size, I deflate it by gently pressing into the dough and let it rise again. This process can be repeated 2-3 times with white flour. If making whole grain or rye bread one proofing is usually enough.

7. I use cast iron skillet for baking my bread. I form a round, place it on an oiled cast iron skillet, slash a few cuts on the top and let it proof from this:

to that:

Whole grain wheat and rye bread (same recipe, different flour)

8. Baking. I preheat my oven to 500F and place on the bottom of it a cast iron pan with boiling water so the bread doesn't dry out.  Then I transfer bread in the oven for baking.

9.  Here I use the timer. After 10 minutes in the oven, I rotate the skillet and turn down temperature to 425F and bake it another 17 minutes. Then I take bread out of the skillet, turn it upside down (it is very hot, use oven mittens!) and check:  if it has hollow sound when I knock on it, it is done. Otherwise, I return it to the oven for another 5-7 minutes.

10. Right off the oven bread needs some rest: I brush it with water and cover to cool down.

The result is mouthwatering!

Until next time,
Cowboy Country Vegetarian


  1. My mum bakes bread almost every week. Your bread looks very well baked! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Does you mom has a clay oven to bake the breads? That's what my grandma had.

  3. i love homemade bread....


Your warm comments put a smile on my heart.