Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Daily Bread

Most of the people I've talked to agree that baking bread is cheaper than buying it.  Most people also agree that it's way better for you, since you actually know what's going into the loaves.  And -- drum roll -- you can pronounce all of it.  I haven't bought a loaf of store bread in over a month.  I think I bought the last one back around the first of January.  I can't vouch for it being cheaper, necessarily.  We eat more bread now, I think.  We eat it for breakfast, lunch, dessert, sometimes at dinner, as a random snack.  It's just that *good*!

I have a recipe that Ms. Terri gave me.  It was for sandwich bread.  It was tasty and simple, but homemade bread goes stale so fast we ended up not eating it all.  I didn't toss it, but it got delegated to the freezer for future use in stews or as breadcrumbs.  So, I went in search of ways to make my homemade bread last longer.
The two loaves made with Ms. Terri's recipe
I stumbled onto this:  Our Daily Bread in a Crock.

If you don't want to follow the link, it's bake as needed artisan bread.  It is SO GOOD!

3 c warm water
1.5 tsp dry yeast
2.5 tsp salt
6.5 c all purpose flour

Yep, that's it,  Four ingredients.  Mix the water, yeast, and salt.  It doesn't need to activate, just toss the flour in on top of it, stir until it's just blended together and pulls into a ball.  You may need more or less water, depending on weather.

It doesn't look like much, but it's the best stuff ever!
Cover and let it rise somewhere warm (I usually turn the oven on warm while I'm mixing the dough, then turn turn the oven off before I put the dough in to rise) for 2 hours.

Cover it with plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge.  Tear off bits now and then to bake as needed.  It'll keep for up to two weeks.

When you're ready to bake it, just let it proof for about 20 minutes, then bake at 450 for 30 minutes (give or take).  It will be golden and sound hollow when tapped.

This is about the size I normally use for our snack bread or to go with a bowl of stew.

 Form it over an oven safe bowl to make homemade bread bowls.

Pigs in blankets!  I don't like hot dogs usually, but these were good.
 I bake individual sandwich sized loaves by squashing out a flat-ish square.  Slice in half, and ta-da sandwich ready.
But these were today's experiment.  I rolled the dough out instead of shaping it by hand, put a cooked patty of sausage, a scrambled egg, and half a slice of cheese in the center, folded it up like a burrito, and baked it as usual.  So good!

But my favorite?  Just butter and jam!  It never has a chance to go stale, because I only bake what we're actually going to use.  If I'm packing B's lunches, I'll bake a week's worth of sandwich sized loaves and keep them in a plastic bag on the counter.  They don't get cut until I actually make the sandwich, so they don't get stale.  It's perfect!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, ideas, advice, recipes, suggestions - I'd love to hear from you.