Simple Bread

picture346Simple Bread is a Crowded Earth Kitchen favorite.  As the name implies, baking this bread is simple.  It is also economical, costing far, far less to prepare than any nutritionally equivalent bread available at your local market.  Simple Bread freezes well, as does the dough itself.  Over the next few days, we will use Simple Bread dough as the foundation for several healthy, low cost meals.  Let’s go play with flour!

Ingredients (makes 2 standard sized loaves, approximately 9×5 inches each)

2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups white flour

picture330Directions

Step 1)  Combine sugar and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.

Step 2) Add dry milk, salt, and oil to the picture331yeast mixture.  Stir in flours, one cup at a time, and transfer dough to a floured tabletop.

Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms.  Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking.  Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.

picture334Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size.  This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.

Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is picture332fun!).   Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes.  Divide dough in half, and shape into loaves.

Step 6) If you are making freezer dough, stop here!  Simply wrap your dough in plastic wrap and freeze.  When you wish to bake fresh Simple Bread, thaw your dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise until picture336double (this will take several hours from frozen).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Step 7) If you are baking bread right now, place your loaves of dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise for one hour or until dough is slightly higher than the pans.

picture345Step 8) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy your Simple Bread!

13 thoughts on “Simple Bread

  1. This reminds me of the recent Paris week posts on your blog. One of the indelible cultural impressions I carry from traveling is the vast numbers of everyday Parisians going about their business with fresh loaves of bread in tow. Bread in not intended to be wrapped in cellophane people. This looks delicious and I look forward to trying it. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • I hope you enjoy it! What you say here is so true. I also remember watching people smell food items before making a purchase… imagine trying to smell cellophane wrapped bread, or shrink wrapped cheese, or wax coated produce… I think many of us have forgotten that market items are supposed to smell distinctly!

  2. I’ve been threatening to learn how to make bread for awhile. My partner looks skeptical; after all, so far my cooking abilities have only extended to boxed mac ‘n cheese. As we try to get away from our supermarket eating habits, bread-making seemed like something I could probably figure out. Plus, who doesn’t like the smell of fresh bread? In any case, I will be a good test subject for your “simple bread” claim! I will let you know how it turns out.

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    • Instead of 2 cups of lukewarm water and 1/4 cup dry milk, I would use 1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water + 1/4 cup of lukewarm milk (all in step 1). The dough may take a bit more flour during the kneading process (to avoid stickiness), but I doubt you’d need more than an extra tablespoon or two of flour. Happy Baking!

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