If you want to become more self-sufficient being able to bake is a necessity.
Homemade bread is much cheaper than store bought allowing you to reduce your income or channel it to other things. More important than the reduced cost is the mindset and increased confidence from gaining such a skill.
There is something viscerally pleasurable of sitting down to enjoy a hunk of warm homemade bread slathered in butter – even more so if you made the butter or grew the wheat.
Unfortunately, my bread making skill is only slightly more advanced than my gardening. I routinely joke that I can make pretty bread or tasty bread but I cannot do them both at the same time (or predict which will result from my latest attempt).
Luckily, that has changed, once I discovered the technique of refrigerator bread, I have been able to bake awesome bread that did not look like a crunchy pile of poo.
This recipe is very similar to my earlier “no-knead” bread, but it is even more simple, and I think it tastes better.
Like the earlier no-knead dough, you mix the ingredients and let the yeasts develop naturally, but with this method you add time in the fridge to let the yeast work slower to get a nicer consistency and a more refined taste.
What I like is that you can make a lot, and then over the course of the next week break off chunks of dough to bake a loaf as you want it.
Believe me – 20 minutes in the oven is way easier than the 6 hour of sporadic attention needed to make a traditional loaf of bread.
Here’s how I did it:
- Active Dry Yeast
- Warm water
- A plastic drink pitcher
- Measuring cup
- Loaf Pan
- Pour three cups of warm water in the pitcher
- Stir in one tablespoons of salt
- Stir in one and a half tablespoons of yeast
- Let sit until yeast starts to bubble
- Dump in your flour – six and a half cups worth
- Stir until you get a sticky dough – make sure you wet ALL the four – I have left dry spots before and you get an icky flour blob in your finished bread
- Put lid on the bucket and let sit for an hour or so (depending on temperature) until it rises.
- (As the sugar is eaten by the yeasts it creates alcohol that flavors your bread – it also releases CO2 which makes the bread rise.
- Warm temps increase the spead of this, while cold retards it)
- Put your pitcher in the fridge – it will keep 10-15 days, but I normally bake it within 7. It does take about one day in the fridge to become a good tasting dough. The longer you keep the dough in the fridge the more flavor and texture your bread will get.
- After the initial day in the box, you can make a loaf by preheating the oven to 450 F, grease your pan and form a loaf. (I have even made a wetter dough and poured it in the pan = but that is another subject entirely).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes depending on your oven and the pan. For a nicer crust increase the temp to 500 F for the last 5 minutes or so.
This is some good bread, and it is a great way to introduce a new cook (even young ones) to baking.
Try it and tell me what you think.