Somehow it being snowy led me to making bread – it was the perfect time waster for a long day. No interruptions and a tasty treat at the end. I went for a large batch so that I could freeze up most of the leaves for later dinners (might as well get my deep freezer full!).
It is a rustic, plain bread, perfect for a little buttery spread or flavored dipping oil. Or if you turn your back on a teenage boy, it will magically disappear plain.
As for tools, I won’t lie – using a powerful stand mixer makes life easy. Yes, you can always mix and hand knead the dough – after all, my Mom taught me how to do that (since a stand mixer would have been a luxury only the wealthy had back in the 70/80’s) but lets face it – if ya gots the tool, use it! One of the best gifts Kirk has given me was a KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer ♥ years ago! The other is a simple Dough Scraper. Kirk got me one years ago as well, at I think Cash n’ Carry. For moving dough and cutting it, it can’t be beat (at least to me that is!). But it was only this past year I started using it to make bread. Why I waited, I haven’t a clue! It makes bread making actually enjoyable (even more so than using my bread machine – as I can make bigger amounts of bread dough. Said bread machine has collected dust….)
Little Rustic Loaves
- 1½ Tbsp active dry yeast
- 2½ cups warm water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp grape seed oil (or similar neutral flavored oil)
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
In a stand mixer bowl add the water to the yeast, let sit for 10 minutes.
Turn the mixer on low, with the whisk in, add the salt, oil and 4 cups of the flour, till smooth. Add in another 2 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time.
Take out the wire whisk, put in the dough hook. Add the remaining cup of flour as needed, letting it work in. Turn to medium-low (about 4 or so) and let knead for 6 minutes.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl with more oil, work the dough off the hook, add to the bowl and flip over so all sides are lightly oiled. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, let sit in a warm area for 40 minutes, until it has risen double in volume.
Punch dough down, knock out on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 8 sections and gently roll into balls. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, put 4 rolls on each sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°, bake one sheet at a time for about 20 minutes, until the loaves are golden on top and sound hollow on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack.
To freeze let cool fully, wrap in plastic wrap, then into freezer bags. Use up within 3 months for best results.
Makes 8 mini loaves.