Monday, February 13, 2012

Quick and Easy Homemade Bread

UPDATE: I've made this recipe about a thousand times now and realized, thanks to a sweet friend, that there were a few tiny errors in the ingredient measurements. Sorry for the inconvenience and happy baking!

I've never been much of a bread-maker, but after going through many recipes and modifying them into one quick and easy recipe, I've found myself baking this bread several times a week. This is probably going to be the easiest bread recipe you'll ever try, and you will be shocked by the results! My husband agrees that this bread tops the bread from our local bakery, and there's nothing like hot, fresh bread right out of the oven! This bread is light and airy with a crispy crust that is deliciously nutty thanks to a healthy drizzle of olive oil. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Yields: One loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
olive oil

Combine water and yeast in a stand mixer and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Using the dough hook, mix in the flour, vinegar and salt until the dough comes together. Form dough into a ball and drizzle with olive oil. Let sit, covered, in a warm place for a minimum of 30 minutes. Punch the dough down and form it into a loaf (keep it on the thin side as you will be letting it rise for a second time). Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet (use a small one so you can fit it into the microwave) and place the loaf on top. Brush with olive oil. Microwave a cup of water for two minutes. Put the baking sheet in the microwave with the hot water and allow the loaf to rise for another 20-30 minutes (don't let it rise for more than about 40 minutes tops or you will have dough that takes over your entire kitchen!). Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 minutes. Flip the loaf and bake for another 5 minutes. Sometimes I place an oven-proof bowl of boiling water in the oven to help the bread retain its moisture, but it's not necessary. Let the bread cool for 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

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