Who can forget Wonder Bread, that white spongy bread of our youth that allegedly “builds strong bodies twelve ways“? Hard to imagine how that stuff could build anything much though we recall enjoying making little balls with it that could be used like a kind of play-doh (kind of tasted like it too just a little less salty) so maybe you could build little dough ball people that way after all.
Fortunately, we’ve grown up and our idea of what healthy tasty bread is has changed as well. And there’s nothing like homemade, sliced or not. Not only is it crusty, chewy and delicious, it’s really easy, way easier than it seems.
Thanks to the “no-knead” crowd who helped spread the bread gospel, including folks like Zoe and Jeff with their Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, there really is little excuse to complain about bread or settle for that sub-standard stuff that’s still everywhere. This basic recipe welcomes changes, additions, and ,modifications to suit every taste.
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. Salt
6 Cups Flour, your choice. Easy starting combo is 2 Cups Rye, 1 Cup Whole Wheat and 3 Cups White
1/8 Cup coarse ground cornmeal for bottom of bread (optional)
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Step One: Mix water, yeast, and salt in large bowl or plastic container.
Step Two: Add flour and mix well.
Step Three: Allow dough to rise in a warmish place for 2+ hours. The dough will still be pretty wet. At this point, you can use as in Step four or store in refrigerator (covered loosely) until you are ready to use it. Since the bread is so easy to bake at this point, we usually just make what we will eat at the next meal.
Step Four: To bake the bread, heat oven to hot (450) and if possible, heat up a pizza stone (can use a baking sheet if need be).
Step Five: Shape about 1/4 of the dough into a ball, which will form a small loaf. If it’s too wet, you can add a little more flour and flour your hands too to shape the loaf. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes on a bed of cornmeal (or flour) so it wont stick.
Step Six: Once the dough has rested, dust top with flour and make three deep cuts in top. Slide bread onto the hot stone or baking sheet. To get a good crust, pour about 1/2 cup water into a baking pan that sits below the stone. Bake 30 minutes and let cool before slicing.