If you've been around here for a little bit, you know that I'm a huge fan of homemade bread. Irish Bread is what sparked my interest in baking...and carbs. I have a full post here with multiple options for baking a beautiful, authentic loaf of Irish bread that shouldn't only be saved for St. Patrick's Day. You can also find my Lessons in Sourdough post, which is about my journey into Sourdough bread baking. I highly recommend you check out Lion's Bread for all the information that assisted me as I got going with this bread baking technique. Sourdough bread used to intimidate me so I kept pushing it off. It turns out that it's truly simple and only takes a little bit of patience and time, most of which is time where the baker doesn't have to actively do anything.
After playing around with bread baking for years, I decided to experiment in the kitchen to come up with a loaf recipe that I call a "Gateway" bread recipe, meaning it is my hope that this recipe may open up the world of bread baking to more home bakers. I want those interested in bread baking to know that you truly can have a beautiful, homemade loaf of bread on your table, to the extent you want it there, and that it is a simple and accessible process. This recipe is simple enough that you can decide to make all of your family's bread, if that's your preference, or you can save it for special occasions if you choose.
This recipe is also set up so that you can bake the bread via 3 options. The first is to use a Dutch Oven. I find that this method results in the most uniformly risen loaf, but it was important to me that the recipe did not require a Dutch Oven. We're going for as simple and budget friendly as possible here. If you are interested in a Dutch Oven, this product here is the same brand and similar to the one I currently use. I found that it was more budget friendly than some other options on the market.
The second method of baking is to simply place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie tray and bake the loaf without a Dutch Oven. This results in a more rustic looking loaf that doesn't necessarily have a uniform dome shape, but the bread still tastes amazing and it's a solid option for putting a loaf of homemade bread on the table.
The third option is to separate the risen dough into two halves and make two small "sandwich" shaped loaves in regular sized, greased loaf pans.
Let's dive into the ingredients and baking directions!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
-2 1/4 tsp yeast
-1 TBS sugar
-2 TBS olive oil (optional: the loaf will be very slightly more dry without it; however, still delicious and it's not a show stopper if you don't have oil on hand or want to leave it out)
-3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
You will also need extra flour for kneading/shaping, plastic wrap, clean dish towels and either a Dutch Oven & parchment paper, a cookie tray & parchment paper or 2 standard sized loaf pans prepared with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 5 minutes until you see the yeast has activated and is a little bubbly. If you are using the oil, add this now and stir to combine. Then add the flour and salt. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to combine all of the ingredients. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow to sit out in your kitchen to rise for approximately 2 hours, or at least until doubled in size.
Generously cover a cutting board or clean counter top with flour.
For the single, large boule loaf option using either a cookie tray or Dutch Oven:
Dump the dough on to the surface and lightly knead by using flour covered hands to pick dough up from underneath and work it into the center of the loaf (Stay tuned to my Instagram for a video tutorial of this process). Flip the dough over so that the seam side is down, gently shape into round loaf. Slide the loaf onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for an hour.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. If using a Dutch Oven, place it in the heating oven to pre-heat for about 15 minutes before baking. For the Dutch Oven baking method, carefully remove the heated Dutch Oven from the warm oven, use oven mitts to lift the top off and carefully pick up the loaf by the edges of the parchment paper and place the paper and loaf into the Dutch Oven. Cover. Bake covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. This is very important as bread finishes baking when you take it out of the oven.
For the cookie tray method, slide the parchment paper and loaf onto the cookie tray and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool completely before slicing- very important.
For the two, small, sandwich shaped loafs, dump the dough onto your floured surface. Use a large knife or dough scraper to cut into two halves. Lightly knead each half with flour covered hands by taking the dough from the sides and bringing into the middle. Flip the dough over with the seam side down and gently shape into a longer oval shape. Repeat this for the second half of the dough. Place into the greased loaf pan and cover with a clean dish towel to rest for approximately an hour or until the dough rises to about the top of the loaf pan. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely before slicing.
I would love to hear from you if you try this recipe! Happy baking!
I jumped on the sourdough bandwagon about a year and a half ago. It had been something on my "baking bucket list" that intimidated me. I dove in with the help of Leann over at Lion's Bread and have loved it ever since. I've made plenty of mistakes. I've had bread that didn't rise as much as I would like. Bread that was really tough to cut. It all tasted great though and I think homemade bread is food for the soul. No carbs is not an option for me.
Once I had my sourdough up to strength for baking, I began to look for and think about recipes that would use the starter discard. I love these sourdough waffles over on Girl Versus Dough. I often double the batch and keep some in the fridge for breakfasts throughout the week. Also, this pizza crust on Little Spoon Farm is to die for. It takes a little bit more time and effort than a conventional pizza crust but the charring on the cast iron skillet kicks this up to serious restaurant quality. I'm itching for fresh basil and tomato season around here to use with this recipe.
This mini muffin recipe has a subtle sourdough flavor from the discard, the recipe comes together in minutes and it's lightly sweet. My kids went through them so fast that I had to bump up my photo shoot of them because they were disappearing. The mini muffin size is also perfect for toddlers and our almost one year old loves them served broken up into pieces. Here's what you'll need:
(makes approximately 28-30 mini muffins)
-approx. 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries
Prepare a mini muffin tin with non stick cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add your starter discard, eggs, vanilla, oil and milk, Mix together. Add the sugar and combine. Add in your flour, baking powder, flour and salt. Lightly stir together the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and then completely combine the batter. Fold in the berries.
Fill the wells of the mini muffin tin approximately 3/4 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container once completely cooled. Enjoy!
lemon lavender bread
It has been a whirlwind 8 weeks since baby boy was born! He's healthy, strong, full of smiles and super cute but I still feel like I'm in survival mode! I am admittedly finding it more difficult than I thought I would to get my new content on here (hence, this is my first post in 8 weeks!), but we're still moving forward!
Lavender is an ingredient that used to intimidate me because it sounds so fancy in a recipe. I'm here to tell you that it is very simple, accessible and it totally elevates a dish and gives it a little something different. I was first introduced to lavender lemonade at one of my favorite New England restaurants, Pickity Place. This restaurant is incredible with seasonal, rotating menus on a monthly basis and they grown all of their own herbs on site. Their lavender lemonade is like drinking a spa day. I picked up a container of their culinary lavender in the gift shop and since then I've made lavender brownies, vegan lemon lavender sugar cookies and today I've got a simple bread for you that is a perfect dessert, tea time treat or would be incredible to serve at a bridal or baby shower.
Lavender can be potent and a little bit goes a long way in a recipe. I've used 2 tablespoons of culinary lavender in this bread recipe as the lemon is also quite a strong flavor and can over power; however, you can easily dial the lavender up or down a notch by increasing or decreasing the amount you add to the sugar. In this recipe, you will create a lavender sugar by processing the lavender with the sugar in a food processor or high powered blender. It takes only seconds and then you mix it into the recipe as you would regular sugar.
Here's what you'll need:
For the bread
-2 TBS culinary lavender
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-zest of 1 lemon
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cups flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 cup whole milk
For the glaze
-1/3 cup powdered sugar
-juice of 1/2 lemon
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the lavender and sugar to a food processor or high powered blender. Process/blend until the lavender breaks down in the sugar (you will still see flecks of lavender but both the sugar and lavender will be more fine in consistency. This typically takes less than 30 seconds).
Zest and juice the lemon. Reserve 1/2 the lemon juice for the glaze. In the large bowl for a stand or hand mixer, combine the eggs and lavender sugar. Cream together until combined. Add in the olive oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice/zest. Mix together until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. use a fork to stir the dry ingredients together on top of the wet ingredients before mixing. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until a thick batter forms. While slowly mixing, pour in the milk and mix until combined and batter thins out a little bit.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before inverting and transferring the bread to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Prepare the glaze while the bread cools by combining the powdered sugar and the reserved lemon juice. Whisk together until it forms into a smooth glaze. Once the bread has cooled, top with the glaze, slice and enjoy!
New England wife, mom & home baker. Faith, food, fitness, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.