Running from the Law: Adventures in Bread-Making - Part 2

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures in Bread-Making - Part 2

Welcome back to Adventures in Bread-Making!  This is Part 2.  I'm breaking these experiences up into three posts, each describing a different kind of bread: starting with ciabatta, working through an easy white bread and making my way to the mother-of-all-breads, the sourdough.  Dun, dun, duuuunnnn!  As you know, sourdough is on my list of the Ten Most Difficult Recipes Challenge and I've set it as my next conquest.  However, I wanted to work on my bread-making techniques before I just jumped right into something that hard. 

After my ciabatta experience, I was feeling pretty good about my mad bread-making skillz.  Actually, I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I made the most amazing bread in the world...and it only took me 2 days and 6 hours!  But I needed one more mastery before I felt I was truly ready.  Something easy.  Super super easy.  Something to make me feel invincible.  Enter King Arthur Flour blog

I was reading through old posts and suddently, there it was!  A recipe for "The Crunchiest-Crackliest-Chewiest-Lightest-EASIEST Bread You'll Ever Bake" --- boo ya!!  Sounds PERFECT.  The recipe gives you really great step-by-step instructions, with pictures even!  It looked easy.  Almost too easy.  But I figured, what the hell.

So I printed out the recipe:
Gathered my ingredients.
Stuck it in a big-ass plastic bowl for a while.
A few days later, I pulled out a hunk of dough.
Made it round.
Stuck it on parchment. 
Let it rest for about an hour. 
Scored the top and baked it.

I am not kidding, it was that easy!
We sliced it while it was still hot and  it dipped in an olive oil and balsalmic vinegar mixture.
We ate the whole damn loaf in one sitting (in addition to our meal).
A few days later, I made another loaf.  It was even better!

YOU MUST TRY THIS.  Tonight!  You really can't screw this up. It's unbelievably amazing!

I am seriously going to make this dough and keep it in the fridge to have on-hand at all times.  Fresh bread every single day is now possible.  I'm DYING.  This is amazing.  My life as I know it is over. 

*Do you measure flour properly?  If you have a scale, then use it.  Otherwise, you need to go HERE and watch the video.  I had no idea I'd been measuring flour incorrectly my entire life!! 

UPDATE: I want to edit this post in response to some great questions I've received in the comment section.  Here are the answers:

1. Why do you use bread machine yeast when you're not using a machine? Fleischmanns is a no-go?

-- I use the SAF bread machine yeast because the recipe calls for it (and Josh recommeded it).  IHowever, here's some good info that I found that might help clarify the issue. 

Bread World: RapidRise (Fleishmanns) and Bread Machine Yeast are different strains than Active Dry Yeast. RapidRise and Bread Machine Yeast are grown with a higher level of nutrients and are dried to lower moisture content. The particle size of RapidRise and Bread Machine Yeast are finely granulated to allow complete hydration of the yeast cells during the mixing process. The Active Dry Yeast larger particle size should be dissolved in water to achieve complete hydration prior to adding to the mixer. In addition, RapidRise and Bread Machine Yeast contain ascorbic acid resulting in increased loaf volumes.

Fresh Active Yeast is the product that Fleischmann's has been manufacturing for over 130 years. It is also traditionally known as compressed or cake yeast. It has not undergone the drying process, so it does not need to be dissolved before use: soften the cake in warm water first OR simply crumble the yeast into dry ingredients (if directed by recipe). Fresh yeast requires two rises. Yeast is available in two different sizes: 0.6 ounces and 2 ounce household cakes

2.  Do you mix by hand, yourself or use a mixer?

-- I actually made this KAF Easy bread without using a mixer.  It was really really easy.  I mixed it in a big bowl with a rubber spatula.  No mixer or bread machine necessary.  For the ciabatta, I used my Kitchen Aide stand mixer, but it's not necessary.  You can definitely mix by hand, it just takes a little longer.

3.  Where did you get your scale? Do I need one?

-- I bought this at a kichen good store.  Most kitchen stores will sell them (Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, etc.).  They are really helpful to have and if you're serious about baking, you should get one (they're not very expensive).  But you don't have to have one!  Go HERE and they'll show you the proper way to measure flour without a scale!  Problem solved.

4.  Where do you buy SAF bread machine yeast?
-- I bought it at Kitchen Conservatory, but you can also get it at the grocery (called bread machine yeast) or from King Arthur Flour's online shop.


  1. Ah, love it! I am DYING to try this. Seriously, it looks delicious. You rock!

  2. This is exactly what I need to make. My sourdough starter is on day FIVE and still not showing signs of bubbling readiness. I want to bake some bread darn it! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to the immediate reward of warm tasty bread.

  3. Where do you buy the SAF bread machine yeast?

  4. OMG I need to make this!! Carby yeasty goodness made from scratch is like, heaven in my mouth!

    Why do you use bread machine yeast when you're not using a machine? Fleischmanns is a no-go?

    Do you mix by hand, yourself? I don't have a mixer and making bread scares me because I don't have one!

    Where did you get your scale? I've not been able to find one in BBB or Home Goods or places other than!


  5. Ooooooo! I want to try it! But I don't want to buy a scale. Do I really have to?

  6. Actually never mind, I'm looking at the King Arthur blog now and it looks like if I "fluff" it good, I should be ok! We'll try it! And if a see a good scale at the grocery, I'll just go ahead and get it!

  7. Did you do all this water and steaming crap! Haha, sorry for all the questions!

  8. I could totally screw this up. Trust me. It looks yummy though, can you make me some!?

  9. Ok - I'm trying this tomorrow!! Where do you find King Arthur flour? Can you make this using whole wheat flour? Oh - and how long can you keep the dough in the fridge before baking? Sorry for all the questions!!!

  10. wow i love homemade bread and this is indeed so easy! can't wait to try, thanks for sharing :)