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
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.