The Bread

Sometimes life get rather complicated. Choices need to be made. Sometimes the decisions are hard and the results, messy. Sometimes it takes a while to untangle, to sort through what is absolutely crazy and what is absolutely necessary. During these times, my brain tends to feel overworked. I spend some much time sorting out the questions of the universe that when it comes to food, I crave simple and comforting foods.  Today’s recipe is my favorite bread recipe. It is simple, delicious, and uncomplicated.

I can not say enough good things about this bread. With some modifications (detailed below), you can use this recipes for many different types of breads. Without further ado, here is the recipe for the bread.

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and yeast. Mix for a few seconds or until yeast is distributed well. Add remaining ingredients and mix, adding more water if the dough is too dry. Turn up mixer to a medium speed and mix dough for 10 minutes.
  2. Spray all sides of the dough with cooking spray. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled.
  3. Once dough has doubled, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape bread into desired shape (more details on that below). Place bread on pizza stone (or a greased baked sheet) and cover and  let rise for 20 minutes.
  4. Brush water over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf (if making a french loaf). Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe Notes:

  • The dough is great for making several different kinds of bread. The dough can be shaped into long, skinny baguettes, ciabatta, and more.
  • For baguettes, divide dough into two pieces and shape into two long rolls.
  • For ciabatta, shape dough into a rectangle and flatten slightly. Do not slash bread.
  • For sandwich bread, bake in a loaf pan.
  • The dough can also be used to make mini baguettes and rolls.