Look. I am not so comfy with the yeasty bread products. I have, to date, fucked up more loaves than I’ve been successful with. But this status quo is slowly seesawing the other way.
Recently I came upon the “Outrageously Easy BIG Bread” on vegweb, which as far as I can tell is an allpurpose veg*n site for culinary slackers (good recipes, don’t get me wrong). The bread is tasty but more to the point makes two huge loaves: yesterday’s were baked on and barely fit on the large Pampered Chef stone (which I love and used twice alone yesterday; once for roasted jalapeÃ±os and once for this). Here is my method:
2 packs of active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups flour, divided
1/3 cup vegetable or corn oil
Pour 1/4 cup warm water into a small ceramic bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, pour the 2 cups hot water over the sugar and salt, then stir with a wooden spoon to completely dissolve. Combine 3 cups flour with the water mixture. Pour the oil on top of the dough mixture then add the yeast mixture on top of that, but do not stir. Top with the remaining 3 cups of flour and mix well. At this point, the dough should be pliant and moist, but not gooey. Oil a bowl and put dough in; cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise for at least 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Remove the dough and knead on a lightly floured surface about 5 to 10 minutes (I usually do eight). Divide dough and flatten each half into roughly an oval/rounded rectangular shape, about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness; roll the dough lengthwise and place on an large ungreased cookie sheet or stone (if you don’t have a very large cookie sheet, use two cookie sheets) Cover the dough with a moist towel and set aside to rise again for another 45 minutes.
reheat the oven to 375 and bake for exactly 23 minutes. If you can keep everyone from digging in right away, allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then enjoy.
A hint on bread rising: for this kind of simple bread, provided you get the correct consistency after mixing and kneading, rising times are less important than allowing the dough to rise enough. So if at 45 minutes it hasn’t risen, give it more time. To rise dough I usually put it in my oven on the rack above a pan of hot (just-boiled) water, then close the oven door. It works well.