Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bread in a pinch

Ideally we would always move with the rhythm of regular bread baking. Ideally we plan in advance and let our sponge rise properly and knead until we get the windowpane effect as Debbie so beautifully demonstrated. Ideally we get this accomplished in time to pack lunches.

Life is not always ideal.

My goal is to stay on top of baking so that we always have bread but never so much that it goes stale. Usually this works. Sometimes it doesn't.

If you're like me, every now and then you get up and pad down to your kitchen only to discover with horror that you don't have enough bread and your husband has to leave for work in 45 minutes. If you're like me, those are always the days when there aren't any good leftovers in the refrigerator and you were counting on packing him a sandwich.

Enter the no frills, cut all possible corners loaf of bread. It's not artisanal and it doesn't have the same excellent taste and texture as proper bread, but it is crazy fast and makes decent sandwiches or french toast in a pinch.

Easy Bread in a Pinch
(Note: this makes two loaves, you can half the recipe if you only need one.)

1. Dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 3 cups of warm water in your mixer bowl.
2. Add 1 Tablespoon of honey (or brown sugar, or sugar, etc) and 1 Tablespoon of salt, no need to mix in, just dump
3. Add 6 Tablespoons of oil
4. Add 6-7 cups of wheat flour (start low, then if the dough seems to sticky while mixing, add more)
5. Using your mixer's dough hook, mix and knead the bread for a few minutes until it seems like a smooth ball of dough
6. Divide the dough, shape into two loaves, and each loaf in a greased or buttered loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and set on the counter someplace while you turn your oven to 400 degrees. The dough will rise a bit while the oven preheats. Trust me, this works.
7. Bake the bread for about 20-25 minutes or until it looks goldenish on top like bread looks when it's done.
8. Take the loaves out of the pans and cool on a wire rack with a tea towel draped over them to keep them from getting hard and dry.

Debbie is probably about to pass out from all the rules I broke making this bread, and PLEASE don't think I mean you should do this every day! I just figure if the choice is between my husband getting a homemade lunch or going out to eat, or me packing a picnic for the kids so we can go on an impromptu playdate without getting Happy Meals, this bread is healthier than the alternative.

Ideally y'all are too together to have those scrambling days like I do sometimes, but just in case it happens to you, now you know you can still bake homemade bread!

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried baking without rising, but you can throw all the liquid in the mixing bowl with the yeast before adding the flour without sponging- just use half scalding hot water and half cold milk and it's the perfect temp to not kill the yeast. Mix/kneed as usual. I'm going right now to try a loaf of bread without rising for five starving kids who are napping just now ;) What a great idea!