By now you probably know I love to bake. I love to bake cakes, muffins, cookies, rolls and especially breads. There is nothing I love more than the smell of bread baking in the oven. The smell makes me feel so good, it’s just very relaxing and comforting for me.
I remember a few years ago, before I started experimenting with baking, in a galaxy far far away, my husband bought me a bread machine.
I was excited!
For many weeks we made lots of bread, all kinds of bread, I got a couple books with different recipes for making bread with your bread machine and I tried a lot of them and we loved them all.
But like any other gadget we get, the excitement eventually dies off, and we slowly forget about our love. Later on we moved and now I don’t even know what happened with that bread machine. Probably sold it in a garage sale.
However, I discovered that it’s more fun to make bread myself without a bread machine, well since I didn’t have one anymore, and I wasn’t about to buy another one. I do have my good old trusted KitchenAid mixer which I cannot live without and for this bread, I made the dough with the mixer. You don’t have to but it’s a lot easier.
Now I cannot tell you how easy this bread is to make, and with only 4 ingredients. Beat that!
I have had this recipe for a while now, at least a couple years and I personally got the recipe from a friend of mine. Apparently this is the same as the recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home BakingBread Baking Books), however I don’t own the book, so I’m not sure, but if it is their recipe I’d like to give them credit for it.
So this is very simple, no kneading required. In a medium bowl add the lukewarm water, it has to be a bit warmer than body temperature, add the salt and the yeast and stir together. In the bowl of your mixer add all the flour and the pour the yeast mixture over the flour. Using the dough hook mix it all together. The dough will be sticky so don’t be tempted to add more flour.
Now you can place the dough in a big plastic container with a lid, but do not close the lid completely, leave one corner open a bit. Or you can just place it in a big bowl and wrap it up really well with plastic wrap and poke a couple small holes with a toothpick so that the gases can escape a little. Let it rise in a warm place for a good two hours.
Now as I said there is no kneading necessary, so all you have to do is shape your bread, but because the dough is really sticky you need to put lots of flour on your hands. Basically you have to divide the dough in two and shape each piece. Again add as much flour as necessary to your hands to avoid dough from sticking. It is ideal to bake this bread on a stone, but if you do not have a stone you can just use a regular baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Shape the dough and place it seam down on the baking sheet or stone. Sprinkle some more flour on top. You need to let the bread rest for another 30 minutes so that it rises a bit more.
Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees. Before placing the bread in the oven, slash the top of your bread with a knife, it will make your bread look pretty, plus it will allow for the trapped gases to escape. Also place a pan with a cup of water in it and slide it in the bottom rack and the bread on the middle rack. As the water heats up in the oven, it will create steam which will give the bread that nice crusty top. Trust me, you will want to do this. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes and let it cool completely before cutting into it. I know it’s hard, I love hot bread, just the thought of it now, makes me crave it.
Trust me it will be worth it if you make your own bread, you’ll get satisfaction and your tummy will thank you too.