I’m writing about bread again. I will never make apologies for this, but sometimes I think I should have called Scarlett Homestead something like “Yeasty Pastures” for all the bread making I’ve done lately.
My motivation however is pretty simple. More and more, we are trying to really change our eating habits for the long term and one of those habits is bread. It might sound a bit crazy, but it’s my goal to figure out a good variety of simple to make, simple ingredient bread types, that I can make here at home so that my actual store bought bread purchases are cut down by at least 75%. I don’t know if that’s a crazy goal or not, but I mean it.
We’ve been buying healthy bread for a long time now, and it’s not cheap, and the ingredients listed are still questionable in most brands. There’s just too many additives, and I can control this by not buying it and making it myself.
I have been intimidated by bread making most of my life. I tried a couple of times when I first got married, and failed, so I just stopped. These past couple of years I have started to try again however, and it turns out that I can in fact bake bread. And it’s good bread. With simple ingredients. Usually no more than what you can list on one hand. Bread in the most simple and natural form, as it should be.
What is hard, for anyone, is finding the time. I make an effort to look for simple recipes that are not going to require me to knead for 20 minutes every 2 hours, three times, before baking. Those kinds are amazing, and worth the effort, but not for me, and definitely not every time I want to make bread.
Once again, I found this recipe on the Jo Cooks website. If you haven’t seen my other posts about dough, or bread recipes from Joanna Cismaru, and this is your first time seeing her name, then let me introduce you to a great lady who has never steered me wrong yet. Her recipes are simple and scrumptious and so many of her bread recipes have been saved as favorites for me.
The actual effort involved in this simple whole wheat version is laughable for how beautiful it turns out and how great it tastes. You really should give this one a try! As long as you think ahead and have the patience to wait 18 hours or so, then this one’s looking at you, kid!
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups water room temperature
- In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
- Preheat oven to 475 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 475 F degrees. If you don’t have a cast iron pot, you can use a round baking dish – like Corningwear. Something that has a lid that sits firm and is heavy. I spray my Corningwear dish with a little non-stick olive oil spray to make sure it doesn’t stick.
- Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
- Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
Here’s how mine came together:
Don’t you just love recipes with only a few simple ingredients?
But even more than healthy ingredients, don’t you love having your children do the work for you? Homemade bread made for you, by little hands, tastes so amazing.
I swear I don’t make my son do this against his will. He truly loves cooking with me and I try to always let him be a part of it. It’s a bit messier, but so much more fun and he gets to learn. And be a good helper. And we’re spending time together, which I will never regret, ever.
Anyway, after Judah did all the hard work for me, all the ingredients should come together to make a dough that is a bit on the sticky side, but that’s how we want it. Cover this with plastic wrap and leave it sit for 12-18 hours. I always do the maximum of 18 hours, sometimes a little longer. I feel like it only adds more air for a fluffier bread. I also recommend thinking ahead for when you need to bake this the following day. I always make mine midday for a morning bake time.
The next day, you should have a nicely risen bowl of dough. Get your oven pre-heated with your dutch oven or baking dish heating inside as well. Get out your flour container and have it ready as well.
Because I use a small round Corningwear baking dish, I like to have my olive oil cooking spray handy as well. When your oven is finished pre-heating, set your pre-heated baking dish on a trivet, spray it, get your hands very well floured and grab your dough and shape it into a ball. Drop it into the heated baking dish.
Then cover it with the lid (that should also have been pre-heated) and throw it all back into your oven like a mad-woman who has never baked bread before and cannot wait to eat it after waiting 18 hours.
But….ahhhh…..good things come to those who wait. Look how beautiful it is when it comes out of the oven.
It’s warm. It’s crusty. When you push on it, you should hear that crackling sound from the top. You know it. The kind you only get from a rustic loaf of bread that reminds you of the fresh bread you ate on your honeymoon in France. Remember? Like it was yesterday.
Cut this baby up and enjoy. It’s a little bit more dense than a white french loaf, but it’s still airy and has a slight, natural sourdough taste to it that I personally love.
It shines on it’s own, but it’s also BFF’s with butter and a yummy soup or stew.
Until next time, you lovely girl, you.
– The Homesteaders Wife