I love baking bread and do it often. I rarely ever have the 5-8 billion cups of flour required for most bread recipes, not to mention different flour types, so here’s a simple recipe to make ONE loaf of bread. Not two, not three, not whateverthehell amount of bread people keep developing recipes for.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp active-dry yeast
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- Add the yeast to the water and get that activating, either in the bowl of a stand mixer or a stainless steel bowl.
- Melt the butter, either in the microwave or on the stove and add the milk, sugar and salt. Add the butter/milk mixture and 1 cup of flour over the yeast. Stir until it comes together, it’ll be lumpy.
- Add the rest of the flour, stir until you have a shaggy dough.
- KNEAD THAT BABY. 8-10 minutes either by hand or stand mixer. The dough is ready when it’s smooth, slightly tacky and forms a ball without sagging. If your dough is too dry or two sticky during the kneading process, add small amounts of water or flour to adjust.
- First Rise: Coat a mixing bowl with a very thin layer of oil, place ball of dough and cover either with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hr.
- Grease and flour a loaf pan. You can line this with parchment instead if you wish, do whatever works for you. Form the loaf and place it in the pan. You can form the loaf either by eyeballing an oval shape that’ll fit in your baking pan, or by rolling out a rectangle that is the same width as the longest dimension of the loaf pan and rolling it into a cylinder. Place this seam side down.
- LET IT RISE AGAIN! Until it starts to dome over the edge of the pan. About 30-40 minutes.
- Halfway during the rise, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Using either a serrated knife or a very sharp razor, make a long shallow slash down the center of the loaf. You can do this in a different shape or pattern if you wish!
- Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375F and bake for 30-35 minutes. It’s done when it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the pan and allow to COMPLETELY cool before slicing.
I know that’s the hardest thing to do because warm fresh baked bread is godlike but trust me. The bread will redistribute moisture and you’ll have a perfect loaf.