As far as easy goes, this one is really easy. Nothing fancy, just some basic bread, but still delicious. Tonight we are using up some of the last of the tomatoes (I’m hoping for one more day of collecting some) for some marinara sauce, and this bread will be perfect to go along side. This recipe actually makes a lot of dough, but you can put it in the refrigerator and make a little loaf or boule to have with dinner. Depending how big you make your loaf, you could have up to four boules that would be perfect for a dinner for four. The dough is a little more tacky than a regular dough, which is slightly sticky, but beautifully smooth. Give it a try, you might just get hooked making homemade bread. You could even get creative with this and add things to it, maybe some rosemary, some seeds of your choice, you get the idea.
For the Recipe:
3 c. warm water (105 F – 115 F)
2 tsp. sugar or honey
1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
2 tbsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
4-5 c. all purpose flour
In the bowl of a mixer put the water and sugar, then add the yeast. You don’t need to let this yeast sit as long as some other recipes, as soon as I see it bubble I move on to the next step. I like to add the salt mixed in with the first cup of whole wheat flour (start with the whole wheat flour first), then add the second cup. Add enough of the all purpose flour to get the dough to where it’s still a little tacky, not goopy. Pour it into a bowl that has about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, making sure all sides of the bread are coated. Let the dough rise for about two hours. It should double in size. From here, you can either put it in the refrigerator or you can bake it. The taste will get even better if you let it sit a day. Sometimes I make this recipe on a Sunday and make a fresh loaf with dinner for the next four days.
To bake the dough first you need to form the boule/loaf. Cut off about a one pound piece of the dough, since the dough will be a bit sticky/tacky you will want to put a little flour on your hands, however, you do not want to work this flour into the dough it’s just to help handle it.
Form the dough into a ball then, holding the dough with both hands us the heel of your hand to stretch the top of the dough down the sides to make a nice taut smooth surface. Stretch and tuck as you rotate the ball. Don’t worry about what the bottom looks like, just be sure the top is a nice smooth taut surface. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and let rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 F, then place a cooking stone/pizza stone in and let heat up for 30 minutes. You can use a baking sheet to bake the bread, but it won’t be as crispy on the bottom, you will also want to skip heating it up for 30 minutes. Next, place an empty baking dish below the rack that will hold the baking bread. Have some water close to the oven to put in this dish after the bread goes in.
Once the stone is heated (which is about the same amount of time for the bread to rise) it’s time to make cuts on top of your loaf and transfer the dough to the hot stone. If you don’t have a pizza peel, which I don’t, you can do what I do, use a flat cookie sheet in place of the peel. Once the dough is on the stone pour the water into the baking dish below. Close the door and bake for 30 minutes or until your bread has a nice deep golden color. Take the bread out and let sit, it will be making a crackling noise which is totally what you want. As tempting as it may be, don’t slice it until it has had time to cool down.