Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Daily Bread

How is everyone's Memorial Day weekend going? Hopefully everyone is having nice weather, honoring our service men and women, and cooking magical food! At the McGowan Hobmeier household, half of us have been working too much (any guesses who that might be??), and the other half has been pick up the house! What a team, right?

I've been planning on introducing our bread recipe on here anyhow, and since I got a few requests from my facebook friends on one of our variations, I figured today was a great day to do that! Credit needs to go where credit is deserved here. I can distinctly remember having brunch with my friend Helen and her family when she served us some amazing sweet rolls and fresh bread. Color me impressed to find out that Helen has made both using a recipe she claimed was extremely easy and cheap! I made some half hearted claim that I would give it a try, not really thinking I would every tackle it. But when money got tight last year, and my German (read bread enthusiast) husband still wanted to eat bread, I thought it was a good time to give it a go! Thank God we did, we will NEVER buy bread again!

Artisan Bread Boule 
Make 4 One Pound Loaves or 2 Larger Loaves

3 Cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (we use coarse sea salt)
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
6 1/2 Cups flour

* Cornmeal for baking

Combine the salt and yeast in the lukewarm water, and allow it to quick dissolve (a minute or two). Add all flour, and mix together. (We use a kitchen aid mixer and a dough hook and it takes just a few minutes to make a perfect dough. The first time I tried this recipe I tried to mix it by hand, and it was frustrating to say the least. If you have a mixer - USE IT!) Put dough in a container and loosely cover. Allow it to rise for two hours at room temperature, then fully cover and put in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, though it doesn't last that long around here!

This is our storage container - works perfectly!

To bake: Take dough out and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Create a free form loaf (or, Helen bakes it in a loaf pan for uniform sandwich slices) and let rise for 20 minutes.  


Place a pizza stone in oven (if you have one). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once the oven preheats, carefully remove the pizza stone and scatter cornmeal over the surface, and transfer loaf to the stone. Make several cuts to the top of the loaf, then place in the oven. Put a cup of water into a baking dish, and place that in a rack below the bread. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf in a golden brown. 

We make two larger loaves rather than four small ones

Martin and I were at the co-op one day and Martin had an idea to take our standard bread recipe and add sunflower seeds for some crunch. I wasn't sure how I thought it would go, but encouraged him to try it out! All he did was add about a cup of sunflower seeds to the dough when it was mixed up. We really enjoyed it, and I suggested that we should reserve sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top before putting it in the oven! 
The sunflower seeds were an easy addition!
The sunflower seeds added a great crunch!
Delicious straight from the oven!

So that's it! This recipe is SO easy, SO tasty, and SO cost effective! I can not stress how much money we are saving by making this bread. We buy everything in bulk, so consider that 25 pounds of flour is just over $10, a big fancy bottle of sea salt is $4, a massive jug of yeast is $8, and water is free. Pennies on the dollars people! Try it and I bet you won't want to go back either! 

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