This daily bread recipe is fantastically elegant in it’s simplicity. I usually start it before bed and finish it when I wake up. But you could also start it in the morning and finish it after work. Whatever timing works for you so that you have 8 to 10 hours for the first rise and an additional hour for the second rise. I use my stand mixer to make the dough. A food processor would work similarly. A bread machine would work, and of course you could do it by hand. See the King Arthur website for specifics on those two methods.
1-1/2 c. warm water
1-1/2 t. yeast
1-1/2 t. sugar
3-1/3 to 4-1/8 c. flour
(all-purpose, or half A-P and half wheat -
use the lesser amount in winter, more in spring/fall, most in summer)
2-1/4 t. kosher salt
Put 1-1/2 cups warm water in the mixing bowl. Warm enough to make a slumber party early sleeper wet her sleeping bag when you put her hand in it, but not so scalding hot that it kills the yeast. Then sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons yeast and 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar over the water.
This is the yeast I use – I buy a big bag of it from the local Mennonnite-owned bulk goods store (that carries our meats) and keep it in the refrigerator.
Mix for a couple of seconds, just long enough to wet the yeast.
Then sprinkle 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour over the top of that. Mix for 10 or 15 seconds, until most of the flour is mixed into the water/yeast/sugar mixture:
There’s still some flour clinging to the sides of the bowl. It’s okay. Everything will be okay.
Then go do something else for 10 minutes. 10 minutes is just long enough to take out your contacts, wash & moisturize your face, brush & floss your teeth and quick wipe down your sink and toilet because you spent a solid 2 hours cleaning the bathroom last weekend and vowed never to let it get – TIME’S UP! Now it looks like this – a tad darker in color, a tad bubbly:
Maybe not so much in these pictures, but really in real life it does. Really!
Next add 2-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt,
and 2 cups wheat flour (I mail-ordered mine from Paul’s Grains of Laurel, IA – local flour!) and an additional 1/4 cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour. Or you can use all AP flour if you wish. Whatever combination floats your boat. This time of year you’ll want the total flour to come out to 3-3/4 cups. A little more in summer, a little less in winter.
Mix it on low until the flour is incorporated, and then crank that puppy up. I think I went to 4 or 6 on my KitchenAid. Mix just until it comes together into a cohesive ball of dough – it only takes a minute or two.
Place that beautiful doughball in your favorite vintage Hamilton Beach bowl – grease the bowl first! – then cover with plastic wrap. I usually let it set on top of my stove for the night because it’s the least drafty place in my kitchen that’s out of reach of the Big White Dog.
Now go to bed! Part 2 tomorrow…