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Easy Bread Recipe

I started to make my own bread one year ago. At first, I wanted to buy a breadmaker, but decided to try the “old fashioned” way of making bread first, just in case we did not like homemade bread for some reason. My experiment ended without me buying a machine, but I’m still baking fresh bread every week. I’m going to share one of my recipes, gathered from experience and reading different books about bread-making. This recipe is a modified version of the Italian baguette recipe found in My Bread.

Ingredients:

400 grams 3 cups Flour, all purpose flour will do, that’s what I use
1 grams ¼ teaspoon Instant or active dry yeast, find in any grocery
8 grams 1¼ teaspoon Table salt
300 grams 1½ cups Cold water

You also need a bit of flour for dusting

Equipment:

A large bowl, I use a ceramic one

Wooden spoon.

A spatula.

Baking trays (something large enough to bake the bread in the oven)

An oven that can heat to 450º F.

Steps:

Mix all dry ingredients together. Stir well.

Make a hole in the middle and pour the cold water in it.

Mix with the wooden spoon or your wet hands.

Mix the dough until it is “wet” and sticky, less than a minute.

Leave dough in bowl, cover with a towel for 12 to 18 hours.

After 12 -18 hours.

Flour a surface where you will put the dough.

Remove the dough from the bowl, using the spatula to help you. Drop on the floured surface.

Make a “square” shape using your fingers about 1½ inch high.

Fold the dough by matching corners, left top corner on right top corner.

Refold the same way, using the opposite side to get a “cube”.

Now you have two choices, you can cut the cube in two to make two smaller loaves or keep it whole to have a large loaf of bread.

Flour an area on the sheet pan (or butter it) and put the cube(s) on it. Cover and let rise for at least one hour.

After 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450F and place a heat resistant bowl 2/3 full of water inside.

Placing the bread on a higher oven rack will give it a darker color.

Once the oven is ready, take the dough and reshape it to your liking (I usually don’t).

Put the pan and bread in the oven, cook at 450F for 10 minutes.

Do not open the oven during this time.

After 10 minutes reduce temperature to 400F. Leave bread to cook for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped when ready. Also, the longer the bread is left in the oven, the harder the crust will be.

Remove bread from oven, place on cooling rack for about one hour.

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