A while ago, I decided to quit buying bread at the grocery store. I used to pay $4 a loaf for sliced bread that was only good for one purpose at a time and despite being full of preservatives and chemicals, would go bad quickly after purchase. I found a recipe I absolutely love, a healthy, cheap bread that is super easy to make and much, much cheaper.
Though I found this recipe on Jezebel, and love the author for providing it, I’ve made a few modifications to make this bread healthier and easier. Because I make this bread so frequently, I decided I could use $5 of the $$$ I’d saved and purchase a specific bread “bowl,” which is just a big plastic pop top container, the pop top allows for air flow to aid the fermentation process. Because I use it ONLY for bread, I drew a line at the 6 cups of flour mark with a sharpie so I don’t have to bother with measuring each time.
Here’s what’s required: One large container with pop top, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, active dry yeast, salt and water.
1.5 tablespoons of active dry yeast
3 cups of HOT water
add 1.5 tablespoons of table salt and let ferment 5 minutes.
During this time, fill the container with about 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 4 cups of all purpose flour. Toss those around until they are well blended.
SLOWLY add the the water, bit-by-bit to the flour mixture, gently swishing the water (to capture the all the yeast) and turning or rolling the flour mixture as the water is being added.
I spend a few minutes rolling the container along the counter which pulls the glutenous lumps off the sides as they build and marry with the flour. Give it a few good shakes and toss it in the fridge ensuring the lid is OPEN. (I often prop it halfway with a small item, as shown)
Give the bread an hour to do its magic and it will be good, but give it a few hours and it will be GREAT. Depending on how patient you want to be, 2 hours in the fridge and 1 in the oven make a lovely loaf.
After being as patient as possible, I pull the bread out of its cocoon- unwilling as it may be- twist it and drop it into a loaf pan, slicing it along the top so it can spread without tearing.
I usually bake it in a 9″x5″ loaf pan, but it usually cooks a little large for that size. I’ve used 8″x8″ and 7″x11″, do what works.
After making this recipe many times, I have found that cooking at 325 degrees is best to keep the crust from hardening too much.
After an hour at 325, I stick a bamboo skewer through the bottom of the loaf and remove it to check for resistance and gumminess. I usually also let it rest inside the oven for an extra 20-30 minutes after its cooked. Let it cool prior to cutting and enjoy. This bread makes great sandwiches, french toast, croutons, you name it.
If you have any left after breaking the bread, store it in a little lunch sack.