Crave: Easy breads to warm up the kitchen

photo by: Mother Earth News

Dill lends bright flavor to make this a deliciously unique loaf.

Bake bread from scratch with these can-do recipes.


Wheat Bread

Yields 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups bread flour, packed and leveled

3⁄4 cup whole-wheat flour, packed and leveled

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups cool water

Wheat bran and coarse cornmeal for dusting

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly.

2. Add 1 1⁄2 cups water, and stir with rubber spatula. Add remaining water (and more) as needed until you have a thoroughly mixed, wet, sticky mass of dough. (The dough will not be like any other bread you’ve made–this will be much wetter and will not form a ball.)

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 12 to 18 hours.

4. After 12 to 18 hours have passed, your dough should be dotted with bubbles and more than doubled in size. (It may also have a strong alcohol smell to it, but don’t mind that, it will burn off in the baking.) Dust cutting board with bread flour and, using plastic dough scrapers, scrape dough loose from sides of bowl and turn out onto board in one piece. Dough will be loose and sticky, but do not add more flour. Dust top lightly with flour, and cover with clean cotton or linen tea towel (terry cloth will stick and leave lint on dough). Let dough rise for another 1 to 2 hours.

5. About 30 minutes before second rise is complete, place cast-iron pot (without lid) on rack positioned in lower third of oven (not at very bottom), and preheat oven to 475 F.

6. Once oven has reached 475 F, remove pot using heavy-duty potholders (be very careful at this stage, as the pot and oven are extremely hot). Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon coarse cornmeal evenly over bottom of pot.*

7. Uncover dough and, using two plastic dough scrapers, shape dough into a ball by folding it over onto itself a few times. With scrapers, lift dough carefully and let it fall into preheated pot by slowly separating the scrapers. Dust top of dough with coarse cornmeal.^ Cover pot, and bake for 30 minutes.

8. After 30 minutes, remove cover from pot and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes, or until loaf is browned, but not burned.

9. Remove pot from oven. With sturdy wooden or metal spatula, pry loaf from pot and transfer to cooling rack. Do not slice bread for minimum of 1 hour–this cooling time completes the process and shouldn’t ­be overlooked!

* For rye bread, sprinkle rye flour on bottom of pot.

^ For wheat bread, dust top with wheat bran; for rye, dust top with rye flour.


Dill Bread

Yields 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour, packed and leveled

2 tablespoons dried dill weed

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast

3⁄4 cup buttermilk

3⁄4 to 1 cup cool water, divided

Coarse cornmeal for dusting*

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly.

2. Combine buttermilk and 3⁄4 cup water in measuring cup and add to dry ingredients. Stir with rubber spatula. Add remaining water, as needed, until you have a thoroughly mixed, wet, sticky mass of dough. (The dough will not be like any other bread you’ve made–this will be much wetter and will not form a ball.)

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 12 to 18 hours.

4. After 12 to 18 hours have passed, dough should be dotted with bubbles and more than doubled in size. (It may also have a strong alcohol smell to it, but don’t mind that, it will burn off in the baking.) Dust cutting board with bread flour and, using plastic dough scrapers, scrape dough loose from sides of bowl and turn out onto board in one piece. Dough will be loose and sticky, but do not add more flour. Dust top lightly with flour and cover with clean cotton or linen tea towel (terry cloth will stick and leave lint on dough). Let dough rise for another 1 to 2 hours.

5. About 30 minutes before second rise is complete, place cast-iron pot (without lid) on rack positioned in lower third of oven (not at very bottom), and preheat oven to 450 F.

6. Once oven has reached 450 F, remove pot using heavy-duty potholders (be very careful at this stage, as the pot and oven are extremely hot). Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon coarse cornmeal evenly over bottom of pot.

7. Uncover dough and, using two plastic dough scrapers, shape dough into a ball by folding it over onto itself a few times. With scrapers, lift dough carefully and let it fall into preheated pot by slowly separating the scrapers. Dust top of dough with coarse cornmeal.* Cover pot and bake for 35 minutes.

8. After 35 minutes, remove cover from pot and continue baking for additional 10 minutes, or until loaf is browned, but not burned.

9. Remove pot from oven. With sturdy wooden or metal spatula, pry loaf from pot and transfer to cooling rack. Do not slice bread for a minimum of 1 hour–this cooling time completes the process and shouldn’t be overlooked!


Rye Bread

Yields 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups bread flour, packed and leveled

3⁄4 cup rye flour, packed and leveled, plus extra for dusting

2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups cool water

Directions:

Repeat wheat bread instructions.


— Excerpted from Mother Earth News. To find more recipes and food articles from Mother Earth News, please visit www.motherearthnews.com or call 800-234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2021 by Ogden Publications Inc.

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