Sometimes I make bread by hand, just to feel the experience of dough stretching and changing under my hands. It doesn’t take much more time than doing it in the bread machine. When I was young though, I hated kneading bread. I was impatient and just wanted to be done with it. Maybe I have more patience now. Maybe.
This isn’t a sweet bread by any means. It has a tiny pinch of sweetener to get the yeast going. No oil, no additives, just a very rustic, dense and simple loaf of bread. It will taste best the first day and should be used up within 24 hours for best taste (it will start going stale quickly). If you do have any left over, it makes fabulous toasted breadcrumbs…….or bread pudding.
Basic Handcrafted White Bread
- 4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp fine sea salt
- 1 package dry active yeast (2¼ tsp)
- 1½ cups warm water (under 140°)
- Pinch of granulated sugar
In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and salt together. In a small bowl, add the yeast, water and sugar together, stir well and let sit until foamy.
Pour the water mixture into the flour, stir in till a dough forms.
Sprinkle a bit of flour on a work surface, scrape the dough out. Knead for for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Add a bit of oil to a large glass or ceramic bowl, place dough and flip over, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area to rise, until double, about an hour.
Oil a 9×5 bread pan, gently punch down the dough and shape to fit the pan.Cover with the plastic wrap, let rise for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°, bake bread for about 45 minutes, until a deep golden brown on top. Turn out of pan, let cool on a rack before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.