WTF bread, Now with Added Norse Mythology!
This random, older than me, lady came into the work today and while she was waiting, we got talking about whatever Food Network show was airing at the time. Then she slightly blew my mind by saying something to the effect of “I don’t know why everyone is so fussy about home made bread. It’s not like the recipe is hard to memorize or anything.”
I was a little surprised. I bake a fair bit of bread, but I always check a recipe to make sure I get my proportions right.
She insisted that all you need is:
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
= 1 loaf of bread. Multiply the recipe by how many loaves you want and that’s it.
Now, I have baked a lot of bread and I’m pretty sure I would have recognized that pattern a long time ago if it were that easy. Any recipes I have used always involve weird fractions and what not. Plus, they are always more than 1 cup of water.
But this woman insisted that to make 1 loaf of bread, this was The Way.
Ah ha! What size of loaf? I asked. The loaf I bake in my #9 skillet uses 3 cups + dusting flour for one loaf. This is a teeny tiny loaf, right?
No. This is a standard glass loaf pan loaf.
Where’s the catch?
Well, you can add a little fat solid to make the bread more soft. (American style) or a little oil to get an Italian style loaf, or just follow the recipe as written and you get a slightly crunchy, chewy crust.
That rattled around in my head all shift.
I came home and told this to C, who also bakes a fair bit and is starting professional cooking school next week and asked what she thought. She replied “That’s just crazy! No way that will work! You are just making Crazy Bread!”
What the hell*, I’ll give it a try! Worst case scenario, I’m out about 50 cents of ingredients. If it works, I will just get to brag* about how easy bread is to make. None the less, I keep thinking, there is no frigging* way this will actually turn out as bread.*
What I forgot to ask was what what temperature and for how long. However, I do bake a fair bit of bread 400F seems about right and I would guess that 30 minutes for a loaf this size should be about right.
At the end of all of that, I got this:
It looks and smells like bread.
It sticks like I have not greased my pan enough. I guess I am spoiled using cast iron to cook in all the time.
The crumb is perfectly acceptable.
The taste is somewhat bland by my current standards. It is a plain white sandwich bread. Which is fine. It would be vastly improved, in my opinion, by the addition of some oatmeal, a banana or a 1/4 cup of molasses. However, as a proof of concept bread, I am impressed.
Our family doesn’t eat a lot of bread. This size of loaf would be just fine for the amount we would reasonably eat before it goes stale. That said, I will likely never make this recipe again. I will take the lesson of the ratios and add in other things to make it more adventurous and a little less, well, white bread.
The important part of this post is that here really is a super easy recipe you can carry around in your head and whip up on the spot at the cabin, at your neighbour’s house, when you don’t want to go to the store. That is a worth while thing to have.
Next time, honey oatmeal bread and I’m baking it in a #5 skillet. I haven’t tried this yet, but I strongly suspect I will be able to replace the sugar with honey and 1/4 cup of the flour with rolled oats or left over oatmeal….. Hmmm…. I bet it would be amazing with left over apple cinnamon oatmeal.
Proof* of Concept Bread
1 cup water (about body temp)
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry active yeast
– mix together, let rise 2 hours
– punch down and pour into a well greased standard pyrex glass loaf pan (it will be very sticky and soft)
– let rise another 30 minutes, depending on your oven you could turn it on now or in a few minutes
– bake at 400F for 30 minutes
– let cool and remove for loaf pan.
– serve with jam or something, because it is kind of boring with just butter.
*Hel – Norse god of the underworld, Loki’s daughter
*Bragi – Norse god of poetry, and apparently, talking smack.
*Frigg – God of wisdom,forethought, marriage and motherhood and Odin’s wife. Which I kind of find funny, because Mr Wednesday doesn’t sound like the kind of spouse I would want in my house. Her sacred animal was the goose. She is literally (really, as in literature) Mother Goose.
*No, really, I wrote that first, THEN realized I accidentally made three reference to Norse deities in one paragraph
*Proof… get it? Ha! I love puns!