"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
--Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher
There really is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread. Scratch-made bread can seem so intimidating, but it's not so daunting if you start small. Our miller, Ben, has a great recipe for a quick loaf that's easy to make at home. He usually makes 5 loaves at a time (he has lots of siblings to feed!) but we've scaled down his recipe for one tasty loaf.
You will need:
- tea towel
- kitchen scale
- 9 x 5 loaf pan (or something similar)
I do this in my kitchenaid mixer with the bread hook, but you can do it with a spoon and your hands!
Ben's bread recipe
(makes 1 loaf)
- 1 pound bread flour plus a little for dusting
- 1 1/8 cup water (110-115 degrees F)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 packet (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
I always use a kitchen scale to weigh my flour - it's much more accurate than using cups. If you don't have a scale (and you really should get one!) 1 pound of this flour is about 3 1/2 cups.
1. Mix water, 1 cup of flour, honey, oil, and yeast until it begins to thicken. (tip: measure out your oil first, and then use the same spoon to measure out the honey. This way it slides right out and doesn't make a sticky mess)
2. Let the wet mix sit for 30 minutes. It will start to get bigger as the yeast makes bubbles.
3. After 30 minutes of sitting, add salt and the rest of the flour. More flour might be needed - you want the dough to form a ball and not stick to the sides of the bowl.
4. Once you have the proper amount of flour added, knead for 8 minutes.
5. Take the dough off the dough hook and shape into a loaf shape. Drop in a greased loaf pan.
6. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
7. Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes. Bread should be golden brown when done, and sound hollow when you tap the crust. Enjoy!
Now that you have this basic bread recipe under your belt, it's time to branch out and try fun variations! Use different flours, add oats, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, molasses... And then work your way up to making your own starter for sourdough - so much fun.