A recipe for wannabe bread bakers

Thrill your friends and lovers with this deliciously simple loaf. Homemade bread is wickedly good, cheap, and to the uninitiated, wildly impressive. This recipe is well-suited for first-timers and seasoned bakers alike. We’ve even made a video on the Argosy’s YouTube channel that can walk you through the process.

Total time: 15-27 hours

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. unbleached white flour

½ c. whole wheat flour

½ c. unsalted chopped nuts, seeds, oatmeal

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. dried yeast

1 ½ c. warm water

Start by taking a large bowl and mixing together 2 ½ cups of unbleached white flour, ½ cup of whole wheat flour, ½ cup of unsalted chopped nuts, seeds and/or oatmeal and one scant tablespoon of salt.

In a small bowl, dissolve ¼ teaspoon of dried yeast in 1 ½ cups of warm water. Let that sit for a few minutes, then pour it into your dry ingredients. Mix together, adding a few more tablespoons of water if things are too dry, until all the ingredients are wet and incorporated. It should be a big, shaggy mass. Cover it with some plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

After your dough has rested, put a bit of flour on the table and dump your dough onto it. Roll it into a loaf or a ball and place in either a greased bread pan or a well-floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel for 2 to 4 hours. This is called proofing and gives the dough a final chance to rise.

Now your loaf should be a bit puffy. Heat your oven to 450 F. Right before putting it in the oven, make a few artistic slashes on the top of your loaf, then bake for 48 minutes. If you want to get an extra-crunchy crust, place a baking sheet in the rack underneath your loaf and pour a few cups of boiling water on it when you first put your loaf in the oven. This will create steam that will give you a beautiful, golden crust. I know it’s tough, but wait at least an hour before slicing and sharing.

Lily Falk