Free Formed Bread2012-05-19
- Yield : 4 -5 Loaves
- Prep Time : 3:10 h
- Cook Time : 30m
For $5 you can make several loaves of some of the greatest bread you’ve had. And don’t be fooled by the ‘easy’ skill level – it’s easier than that.
Please don’t be thrown off by the prep time. A large majority of that is simply waiting for the dough to rise while you do whatever else you want. It barely counts.
The other thing I love about this recipe is that it makes a bunch of dough, which you throw in a freezer bag, put in the fridge and when you want some bread, you can cut off a chunk and in a little over an hour, you have a fresh loaf.
Seriously, try this. I did and I can’t stop eating it.
- 3 Cups Lukewarm Water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Granulated Yeast (about 2 packets - any brand/style will do)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coarse Salt
- 6 1/2 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Add the YEAST and the SALT to the WATER (about 100 degrees F) in a large bowl. You don't need to mix it or wait for it to dissolve.
Add the FLOUR. No need to sift or pack the flour. Simply scoop it up, sweep level, and add all of it to the WATER mixture
Use a wooden spoon or your (very wet) hands to mix in the FLOUR. Its not necessary to knead the dough. Just mix it together until its uniformly moist.
Cover the bowl and allow to rise in a warm spot until its about twice its size. I cover it with a hand towel and put it in the sun. This will take about 2 hours.
Its recommended that you allow the dough to then sit in the fridge for a few hours, but if you're like me, you're ready to eat. Cut off a grapefruit sized chunk of dough and with floured hands, stretch and mold it into a ball. Again, no need to kneed - this shouldn't take more than 60 seconds.
Place the ball of dough onto a heavily floured surface you can later use to slide the dough into the oven (like a pizza peel). Flour the top of the ball and use a knife to cut a couple of slices into the top. Allow the dough to sit and rise for 40 MINUTES. After 20 MINUTES, turn the oven on to 450 degrees F and place a baking surface on the middle rack (a baking stone works best but a cookie sheet will work).
After 40 MINUTES, slide the dough on to the baking surface. The trick is to add a pan with 1 CUP of WATER to the bottom rack, which will help bake the bread with STEAM, making it soft in the middle. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Keep the rest of the dough covered or in a freezer bag in the fridge until you're ready for another loaf (it will keep for well over a week). The initial dough making is the tedious part. However, when you're ready for a loaf, cut off a chunk of dough, spend 60 seconds to roll the dough into a ball, let rise for 40 minutes and cook for 30. You'll have fresh bread for 60 seconds of work.
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This information is per serving.