Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lets Break Bread Together...I mean MAKE Bread Together!

So I was recently inspired by my friend, Maria, to domesticate myself a little more.  She has been making all kinds of crazy awesome homemade things and is like an incredible SUPER MOM:  Chai Tea, Peach Honey...Challah Bread!!! Read more about Maria and her awesome family here, they rule.  You should totally click the link to read more about her work and her family and how to contribute to the Weimer's awesomeness!

Anyways, after I started having bread on the brain I came home and started pinteresting...DUH!  I decided bread looks like it should be terribly easy.  So when I found this pin that shows you how to make bread in a dutch oven I got WAY excited.  See, a dutch oven is borderline crock pottish...and you KNOW I've been on the crock kick recently.  That was when I decided this bread thing could totally be for me.  

Like most things I try, I want to jump to obsession and go overboard with ingredients and supplies.  I started thinking and calculating "Oo! If I buy the 30 lb bag of flour from Costco and my yeast in bulk I could make bread for 6 months for about 40 cents a loaf..." Whoa! Whoa! Whoa Lisa!  Calm down.  What happens if this ends up like your first seven attempts at making a pumpkin roll??  If you fail miserably and learn you aren't a breadmaker, what in the WORLD are you going to do with 30 lbs of flour.  I still tried to justify myself and say I'd just give it to Maria if I failed...but I opted on the sensical side so I didn't overwhelm Tommy walking in the door with my new "big idea" and 30 lbs of flour. Haha! Besides...technically I shouldn't be lifting 30 lb bags of anything right now.  

This entire process really only ended up taking about a half hour of my attention.  Most of your time is just spent waiting and then baking.  You aren't going to BELIEVE how easy this was:

What you need:
  • 3 cups of unbleached white flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Dutch Oven - this is the dutchie that I have and I'm IN LOVE.  Click on the picture to scope out and purchase one for yourself if you haven't taken the plunge yet.  You won't be disappointed. Totally worth the investment.

What to do - PHASE 1:
  1. Mix together your flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.  
  2. In a separate small bowl mix 1/2 cup of warm water with your 1/2 tsp of yeast.  Just stir it around till the yeast dissolves.
  3. Pour the yeast/water mixture onto the flour and add the remaining 1 cup of water as well (Temperature doesn't matter here. The hottness is just to activate and dissolve the yeast.). Stir, Stir, Stir!
  4. Once your mixture has a doughy consistency cover the bowl with saran wrap.  You don't want a tight tight seal because you still want some air to be able to escape the bowl as your mixture grows.  Then let the dough sit for 12-18 hours.  

What to do - PHASE 2:
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. When it reaches the 450, put your dutch oven WITH the lid on inside the oven for 30 minutes.  Give that baby a little time to warm up so she can start doing her magic.
  2. While your dutch oven is getting hot and ready, prepare your dough for awesomeness. 
  3. Put a generous amount of flour on your prepping surface because your dough is going to be really sticky.  Dump your dough onto the flour counter and shape it into your loaf. 
  4. Recover the bread either with the saran wrap or a cloth so it doesn't get flat or weird while you wait for your dutchie to be ready.  
  5. After the preheat, plop your loaf into the dutchie, put the lid on and then stick her back in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes is up take dutchie out, remove the lid, and put her back in for 15 more minutes. Then she's done!  Wasn't that cake!?  

It's so easy! And really good.  It tastes like a french bread but it's not skinny and long.  It's round and plump.  It's more of a crusty bread.  And I'm not sure if the crusty part happened in the last 15 minutes, or if it would have been that way regardless.  I might try it again for 45 minutes with the lid on and just see what happens.  

And get this...this is seriously like the best part...

The aftermath is SO easy to cleanup.  Yes. Those are just flour CRUMBS in the bottom of dutchie.  This and the mixing bowl was the only thing that needed cleaned up.  I couldn't believe it.  It was cake! Well, technically it is BREAD!  But it was so easy. 

I'm on a roll with this bread thing for sure.  This particular nameless loaf won't be great sandwich making bread.  But it would be great dipping bread for sopping up some oils or spaghetti sauce :)  Dang blogging makes my mouth water.  

So I'm on a mission to make sandwich bread.  Maybe like a honey oat...that's my fave bread for my subway sandwiches.  In the meantime, I also intend to learn my Grandma's Swedish Coffee bread and I wanna make hamburger buns.  I know...seems weird and random...what else did you expect from me? Normal? As Ryan Lochte would say "Chyeah...right..."