Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The best bread recipe ever

As someone who struggled with making bread for six years before finding this recipe, this claim is pretty outrageous. Before, I would have said there's no such goddamn thing as a good bread recipe, just different variations of frustrating and sticky and flat and crap and time-consuming. The soft, fluffy sandwich bread that rises more than a hand's width is literally made out of magic and capitalism, because nothing I've ever made with flour and yeast has ever come close.

And this isn't sandwich bread! But it does make the best dinner rolls or sandwich buns ever. It's whole wheat, it's soft and fluffy on the inside, pleasantly crunchy on the outside, and it only takes 30-40 minutes meaning you can cook it alongside the rest of the meal, start to finish. I don't remember where I found the original recipe, but I've modified it sufficiently everywhere from the ingredients to the cooking temperature that I don't feel even slightly bad posting it as mine.

Since I discovered this recipe, I have been literally baking my own bread from scratch whenever I fancy eating some bread. That just never happens with other yeast bread. You have to plan ahead and schedule it in because it's going to take you at least four hours to make. But no, with this recipe I'm just like, "I feel like some bread and jam for lunch", and half an hour later I'm eating fresh, hot bread that just came out of the oven.

I appreciate that half an hour might seem like kind of a long time for some of you to wait for bread, but given the freshness, the smell in my kitchen, and the fact that there's usually at least a half hour wait for any of the food I eat that is more complex than yogurt and honey or a piece of fruit, personally I think it's more than worth it.

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1C warm water, 1tbsp white sugar, 1tbsp olive oil, and 1 packet yeast, in that order. Mix with a wooden spoon and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

When yeast is frothing, stir in 1/4tsp salt and 1 egg. Add 1C AP flour and stir. Add 1C whole wheat flour and stir. Then scoop out 1C AP flour and add from the cup until dough is just barely not sticky. It's nice when it's moist in my opinion. I have rarely finished off the whole cup.

Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Then split into whatever shapes you like - I like to split it into 9 balls and put them in a square cake pan to make dinner rolls, but you can do it however you like. I grease the (nonstick) pan with olive oil and flour all the dough balls, so that the finished product comes out dusted with flour on the tops.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with fruit preserve, gravy, tomato sauce, honey, or even just plain butter - the bread is delicious enough to make it taste sublime!

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