Hi there Hudson Valley! The COVID-19 pandemic has left us with time on our hands to try new things. So we thought we would help you learn how to make the best bread you have ever tasted!
The boss’s wife makes the best bread! She makes Milk Bread,
Dutch Oven Bread,
and is currently trying her hand at Sourdough, but this is the recipe that she can make in her sleep, and everyone loves it! Trust us, this is fool-proof breadmaking at its finest. Great bread recipe for the first-time baker.
Easiest Bread You’ll Ever Make
2 envelops of Active Dry Yeast (or 4 & 1/2 tsp if using jarred)
1 Tablespoon & 2 teaspoons of sugar
2 Cups of warm to warmish water
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
5 cups of flour (you can substitute bread flour, but it will make for VERY HEFTY loaves, we are talking a ton of bricks heavy)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 or more Tablespoons cornmeal (to scatter over a baking pan or pizza tile)
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water (to brush over bread before baking)
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, everything bagel seasoning, coarse salt or Whatever you want to sprinkle over the top
Ramekins for hot water
Using a standing mixer (or large bowl) combine yeast, sugar, and water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Doing this gives your yeast the ability to bloom. If you watch the mixture, you will see little eruptions, that’s the yeast coming to life!
Add to this mixture your flor, salt, and olive oil. Using a dough hook and occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl, mix for 5 to 7 minutes. If mixing by hand, stir and scrape the sides of the bowl until the dough forms into a ball, once it forms into a ball, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 3 to 7 minutes. The dough should not feel wet, if it does, add flour by the tablespoon until it begins to feel dry. Put the dough into a well oiled large bowl. Cover with a clean dishcloth or oiled plastic wrap and let sit for an hour. If you find that you have a conference call in an hour, or you fall asleep while binging Netflix, DON’T WORRY! The dough can rise for as long as two hours, as a matter of fact, the longer the rise, the better the bread tastes!
Your dough should have doubled in size by now. Let out some of your isolation frustration and punch it down with a swift smack to the middle of it. Cover it and let it rest for 5 minutes. Use that 5 minutes to line two baking sheets with parchment paper or tinfoil. If baking on the baking sheet & using tin foil, spray the tin foil with cooking spray and then generously dust with cornmeal. If using a pizza stone, sprinkle a small amount of flour on parchment paper, save the cornmeal for the stone itself.
Tip the dough onto a floured surface and use a sharp knife to divide it into two lumps. Set one lump aside and cover it with a clean cloth. Take a rolling pin and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 3/4 of an inch thick. If you want to make round loaves, roll the dough into a tight ball using well-floured hands. Place your newly formed loaf onto your prepared baking sheets and cover with clean cloths or well-oiled plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 400, if you are using a pizza stone, put it in the oven while it is heating up. Brush each loaf with your egg/water mixture, then take a sharp knife and slash the loaves. Long loaves usually get three slashes, round loaves 2. Then sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
Carefully transfer loaves to pizza stone for baking.
Before putting your loaves in the oven, you can fill ramekins with hot water (or an oven-safe coffee cup works in a pinch) to help create steam to help the bread rise while baking, but if you forget it still works.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When you take the loaves out of the oven, make sure to tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow, then it is done. Do your best to let the bread sit for at least half an hour before you cut into it, but we totally understand if you can’t wait.
We would love to hear from you about your favorite bread recipes, and if you try this one, share a picture of your loaves with us!
From everyone at Hudson Valley Agents, stay safe, stay healthy, stay home, and bake bread! Remember, we are all in this together.