Bread is my favorite.
I think, if I had to choose, bread and cheese and wine, in that order, would be my dietary meal selections on into forever. Which, of course is super healthy and definitely in keeping with all good eating resolutions I have made thus far in 2016. Ahem.
I love making bread as well as eating it, save for the fact that it takes so much stinking time to produce. But the result at the end of the whole venture! —That yeasty smell filling the house and reminding you the world is still a good and wholesome place (at least in some corners) . . . The way your grandmother’s bread knife (that you inherited) bites into the heavy crust . . . How butter almost dissolves into the warm crumb . . . Ahhhh. It’s almost too much to bear. And sometimes it actually is too much, and I end up eating the whole loaf. By myself. (So much for resolutions).
So when a dear friend of mine whipped up this bread one evening for her family, while we were there visiting, (and it was mixed, had raised, and baked in less than an hour) I almost died and begged her for the recipe. Imagine: homemade bread and all the good vibes that come with it in a fraction of the time!? Miracles, people. Miracles. My friend, being the beautiful person she is, promptly copied down the recipe for me, and now I’m sharing it with you. Because, homemade bread, man. It’s my favorite. Enjoy!
ARTISAN NO-KNEAD BREAD
(or 5-Minute Bread)
3 cups of warm-almost-hot water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
6 ½ cups flour
In a large mixing bowl (preferably a 6 quart stand mixer, if you have one), combine the water and yeast. Whisk, allowing the yeast to dissolve and add salt. Whisk again. Add the flour, mixing slowly every two cups. The last ½ cup will serve to finish off the dough, but it will be a more loose and sticky mass than the traditional make-all-day-kneed-all-night bread. Transfer the dough to whatever baking dish you intend to use, making sure it is well greased.
This recipe will make three medium sized loaves or, like I did here, one GIANT loaf. Go big or go home, right? Allow the dough to rise for about a half hour or so and then bake at 350-degrees until crisp and evenly browned on top. Roughly 30-40 minutes, depending on loaves/rolls/and the sizes of each.
* The dough can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container to use over the course of a week. Cut off only as much as you need for a small loaf, or a handful of dinner rolls. Form, allow to rise, and bake.
* For variation, consider adding herbs, olives, a variety of spices, or dried fruit to the dough for some wonderful flavors. A few of my favorite combinations: Rosemary and Olives, Apple and Cinnamon, Apricot and Cranberry, Orange Peel and Raisin, Chocolate chip and Cinnamon, Cheddar and Dill.