Simple Bread is a Crowded Earth Kitchen favorite. We first shared this recipe a few years ago, and it has been wildly popular! 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
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 yeast 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.
Step 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 fun!). 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 double (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.
Step 8) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy your Simple Bread!