Soup season is upon us and for us, that means warm, delicious bread to go along with! We have a few go-to recipes but none are as easy as this one. With only a few ingredients, this decidedly un-fussy recipe makes loaves of light, crunchy-on-the-outside and moist-on-the-inside golden bread. Just perfect for slathering with butter or dipping into a bowl of soup or stew. You can even start this when you get home from work and have it along with supper…so easy!
1 packet dry yeast or about 1 1/2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 1/2 cup very warm water (I just use tap water, getting it hand-washing hot)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
3-4 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
water (for the crust while baking)
Dissolve the yeast and the very warm water in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt and 2 cups of the unbleached white flour and beat well with a large, wooden spoon. Add in the whole wheat pastry flour and enough of the remaining white flour to make a soft dough that is not sticky. If your bowl is big enough, you can knead it in the bowl, otherwise, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top and knead until it is smooth, round and elastic. This whole mixing and kneading process will take less than 10 minutes. Lightly oil a medium-large bowl (glass, ceramic or pottery works best) and put the ball of dough in. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warmish, draft-free place. Let rise until doubled. This takes about a half-hour.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead down. Divide in half and form into two long loaves. Lightly oil a cookie/baking sheet and sprinkle with corn meal (white or yellow, it doesn’t matter). Place your loaves far enough apart that they won’t touch when they rise and bake. I like to cut a few slits in the top of each loaf, but this isn’t necessary. Cover with the towel again and let rise for another 20 minutes or so.
Heat oven to 400 degrees and brush the loaves with cold water. Pop in the oven on the middle rack. After about 15 minutes, brush lightly with more water and bake 30-45 minutes until golden. When you tap the loves with your knuckles they will sound hollow and that is how you will know they are done! Remove from oven, cool a bit, if you can wait, and enjoy.
The leftovers of this bread make great French toast or salad croutons so, if for some reason it doesn’t all get eaten fresh, it makes for a great next day snack!