Bread is the new black.
So i’ve been on this big bread making kick for most of the summer. I’ve had a bread machine for years, but it rarely gets used because it’s HEAVY. I can only get vegan bread at the commissary, and since we only have one car I have to do my errands mostly around Brian’s work schedule. Well, I don’t want to drive onto the base and fight the crowds every time I want to make a damn sandwich. So I committed myself to making lots of bread. I posted a sandwich I made with bread from the breadmaker, but I quickly stopped using it because the loaves were coming out way too big, fluffy, and crumbly. I wanted something more sliceable, and then I had a ‘duh’ moment and realized that my underused, but very loved stand mixer has a dough hook! And it’s always on the counter so I don’t even have to drag it out.
If you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just knead it by hand, you lazy bitch?”, I have a bad shoulder and the only time I tried to hand knead bread dough, it caused a problem. Also, I am a lazy bitch. Which is why bread making is perfect for me, it’s very low key and although you have to wait awhile for it to rise, it requires very little effort on your part if you have a stand mixer to do the kneading for you.
Even if you don’t, bread making is a good hobby. It’s hella cheap, and you get to eat the results. Any hobby that results in eating is awesome. Also, most bread is made with such simple ingredients that you can make it on a whim whenever you feel like it. You can divide up the dough and make a couple of different flavors of mini-loafs.
The recipe i’ve been following is the basic french loaf from La Dolce Vegan, but it’s a pretty standard recipe that is replicated all over the internet. I wasn’t going to bother trying to find the exact recipe, but every recipe I found on google had scary complicated instructions, and I didn’t want to scare anyone, so here it is:
Easy French Bread
2 1/2 tsp or one packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2-4 cups flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds
In a large bowl, stir together the yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm water and sugar. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Stir iin the 1 1/4 cup of water, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Slowly stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. One a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic; add a little extra flour if it’s too sticky. Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning dough until covered in oil. Cover with cloth and set aside in a warm non-drafty spot and let dough rise for 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 400′F. Punch down dough and knead out air bubbles. On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into large loaf or two small baguettes and place on a baking sheet. Make 4-5 slashes diagonally across the top. Sprinkle top evenly with seeds and let rise 15 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
If you want to get more into the process, I found this list of tips for improving your bread.
A lot of people say you shouldn’t cut the bread when it’s warm, and I want to know where these people get their steel willpower from, because I can’t wait more than a minute before I have to eat the end. Other than that, i’ve mostly been making tiny sandwiches.
And then I hatched a plot to make cinnamon swirl bread for the sole purpose of making the fronch toast from Vegan With A Vengeance. I used the same recipe, but after the first rise I rolled the dough out, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, rolled it up, pinched the ends together, and put it in a bread pan to rise. The results were beautiful and delicious.
I was going to make more bread today and was planning on getting creative with some herbs, but I was out of yeast. It was a sad moment. So sad that i’m going to end this post with a frowny face.