Monday, April 25, 2011

The Bread

I've had the most relaxing Easter weekend.  I'm fortunate enough to have off work on Good Friday and I spent the day at the beach with my husband.  Then, I had dinner with my brothers and father on Saturday.  I got plenty of sleep and I tried several new recipes.  Although Saturday was cool and rainy, Easter Sunday was warm and sunny.  I even worked out twice and I'm so sore that I can't laugh without hurting.  Oh yes, it was a fantastic weekend!

I cruised the Interwebs for several recipes this weekend and I stumbled across this recipe on my "BFF" The Pioneer Woman's blog.  My mom was cooking our favorite turkey and we were discussing whether we should have rolls with dinner.  I had just made a batch of Hot Cross Buns and I did not feel like making a batch of rolls, so I opted for a loaf of bread.  I considered doing my usual No-Knead Bread, but then I decided to try something new.

The Pioneer Woman calls this simply, "The Bread".  It's very similar in technique to my No-Knead Bread, except that it doesn't need to rise overnight, which makes it perfect for a last minute decision.  If you wake up on a weekend morning feeling overly ambitious and decide you want fresh bread for lunch, make this loaf.  While the appearance is similar to No-Knead Bread, it has a chewier, finer texture with very few holes and tunnels.  It's also not as crusty as No-Knead, so I saved a few pieces to eat with leftover turkey as a sandwich for lunch at work.

I opted to use fresh rosemary in this loaf, but you could also use chives or thyme.  I kept it simple and resisted the urge to add fresh garlic, but I'm sure you could spice this one up.  This bread is made with tons of melted butter (yum!) and plenty of salt and fresh herbs, so I didn't feel the need to slather it with butter before enjoying.

My loaf didn't rise as high as Pioneer Woman's, but it still tasted great.  This isn't an everyday bread (due to the high amount of delicious white flour and butter), but it's a great occasional treat.  We opted to serve this with dinner on Easter Sunday.  It would also be fantastic at a wine and cheese, a picnic, or any other place you want to enjoy a moist, warm loaf of fragrant bread with good friends.

ready for the oven
The Pioneer Woman has great step-by-step instructions for this recipe, so please cruise over to her site to see the details.  If you've never made bread, I think you can handle this recipe.

Note:  This recipe calls for Instant Yeast which is different from Active Yeast, but you can still pick it up in the baking aisle of most stores.  If you have to use regular Active Yeast, just dissolve the yeast in the water before adding it to the dough and you should be fine.  This recipe is baked in a Dutch oven.  I have one and I haven't tried baking it without one, but you could try it in another large pot or dish that has a lid.

The Bread
from The Pioneer Woman
serves 6

20 ounces, weight Bread Flour (all Purpose Is Okay, Too) - About 4 Cups
1 cup warm (not hot) water
1 stick butter, melted with chopped herbs (I used rosemary)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast (if active, sprinkle yeast over water before mixing it in)
olive oil, for drizzling
additional salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients together in a KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook (it can be done by hand…it just takes longer).

I mixed them together for about 10 minutes or so until I could successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. (This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

After the dough is risen, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute. Form it into a dome and place in a covered cast iron pan after coating it with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom!  (At this point you can bake the dough immediately and it will be fine.  Next time I'm going to let mine rise for another hour so I get a larger, fluffier loaf.)

Bake on the center rack of your over for 30 minutes with the lid on, them remove the lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.


  1. I love bread making. Its so fun and relaxing. And yours looks fabulous.

  2. You already know how I feel about your bread!! When can I move in?! ;o)

  3. i wonder if I can make this bread without a mixer. I'm determined to make myself some bread one day!


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