Who doesn't love bread? I know I do. I love a nice crusty french baguette with just about every meal! But I hated when I would go to make dinner and I would have to pack my toddler up and run to the store to get some! So I figured I would start making my own.
Only problem is, most recipes I came across said you needed a fancy-shmacy KitchenAid mixer, which I do not have. All I have are my hands. So I was stumped. I tried a few different recipes and finally decided to take small variations of four of them and make my own hand-kneaded bread :)
Don't be intimidated by the amount of instructions. I purposely wrote out each step in a very detailed manner since when I started making bread I felt like they assumed I knew certain steps.
1 1/2 tbs dry active yeast (or 2 envelopes)
3 tbs honey
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm water (will be divided)
Olive Oil, for greasing the bowl
Combine yeast and honey in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix together well and let sit for 5 minutes. It will become foamy
In a large bowl, use olive oil to coat the entire bowl - set aside
In a separate bowl mix flour and salt and gradually mix in the yeast mixture.
While stirring, after yeast mixture is added, add the additional 1 cup of warm water slowly. Stir until all ingredients are combined
At this point, dump all the contents of the bowl on to a clean surface. There will be a lot of the mixture that isn't combined yet, and that's okay!
Knead all ingredients together with your hands. Continue to add back in the dry ingredients that will fall to the side. At this point you may think that you did something wrong because it looks clumpy and dry, but keep kneading!
Knead for about 5-7 minutes. If the dough does look too dry, dampen your hands while kneading. Don't add water directly to the dough at this point. Usually just getting your hands damp will do the trick.
Rising & Forming Directions:
Once the dough is kneaded and when a knuckle is pushed into it, it bounces back, place in the well greased bowl with a towel covering it
Let the dough rise for 1 hour. Every 10-15 minutes take the dough out and knead 1 to 2 times
Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Take the dough and split it into either half or thirds (depending on how big you want your loaves)
Roll the loaves out and place them on a flour dusted baking sheet
Cut slits on the top of the bread to let it expand
Place dough in oven at 425 for 10 - this will give it a nice crusty texture on the outside
Once the 10 minutes are up turn the oven down to 375 degrees for 20 minutes
Remove and place on a cooling rack.
***This freezes really well if you wrap in saran wrap then covered in tin foil***
21 Day Fix
Using whole wheat flour:
1/8 of a loaf = 1Y