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Cooking with ADHD: Bread 2.0

I think I may may have posted my bread recipe at some point in the past, but I’ve updated it a little bit, so here’s the update!

I have a kitchen scale now, so later on I’ll add metric mass values so those of you cooking in Europe can give it a whirl without having to guess. It works fine by the fairly-inexact American volumetric method, though! 

You will need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 4.5 teaspoons highly active dry yeast (I recommend SAF red; also, that’s 1.5 tablespoon, by the way; or if you’re using packets, 2 packets)
  • 1.5 cups hottish (not boiling) water (or 1 cup hottish water and .5 cup milk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (margarine or veg oil will work, too!) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, honey, or malt syrup (your choice)*
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt *

Ingredients marked * are optional. I like the flavor of bread better with salt (and need tons of salt because my body is crazy), but you can leave it out. The sugar/honey/syrup changes the flavor of the finished bread only a little, but it can help get your yeast going if it’s sluggish. Honey or malt syrup add a little moisture, but not enough to require adjustments (edit: usually).

I think you can also bake bread entirely without fats, but I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. 

To make the bread:

  1. Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Stir to blend them, then set aside. 
  2. Combine flour, butter/oil, and salt in a large bowl. 
  3. When the yeast mix gets foamy, pour it into the dry mix (if you’re using butter, the hot water will help it melt).
  4. If you’re using milk, pour it in, too.
  5. Stir with a stirring spoon to everything is fairly well blended (don’t worry — it doesn’t have to be anything like perfect!). 
  6. If you have time, give the ingredients about 5 or 10 minutes to rest. This lets the flour take up the liquids. It also lets you find some awesome podcasts to listen to while you knead (might I recommend the History Chicks?). 
  7. Squish everything together a little with your hands, dust your work surface with flour, and dump your dough right onto it.
  8. If you’re like me, set a timer so you don’t find yourself thinking, “OMG, I have been kneading this dough foreeeeeeeevaaaarrrrrr.” 6 to 8 minutes should do the trick.
  9. Ready … set … knead! Remember, no grouchy TV chefs are here, and even if they are, it’s your kitchen — so knead that dough in whatever way works for you!
  10. Ball up the dough, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise for 30 minutes (if you’re in a hurry) to 1 hour (if you’re not). Longer than 1 hour is fine, too. If it’s going to sit all day or overnight, though, maybe stick the dough in the fridge so it doesn’t go completely crazy.
  11. When you’re ready to bake, preheat dat oven — I like a darker, crisper crust, so I set it for 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12.  Punch down your puffed-up, self-important doughball friend, then shape your baguettes or batards or loaf or rolls or boules or what have you. I often do one baguette and either four submarine rolls or eight dinner rolls. 
  13. If you have time, let your dough rise again (like the Mary-Ellen Carter!) for 15 – 30 minutes. this step is optional, but gets you a pooftier end product. 
  14. Bake for 15 (for dinner rolls) to 30 minutes on or in whatever kind of pizza stone, cookie sheet, loaf pan, and/or baguette pan you’ve got on hand. You can probably even use muffin tins (though I haven’t tried that).
  15. Cool (preferably on a rack) for as long as you can stand it.
  16. The most important part! Enjoy your bread while collecting accolades from your friends and loved ones who will be like, “OMG, this person is amazing!”  (Unless they can’t have gluten. I should learn a good gluten-free recipe, because Celiac is no joke.) 

That’s it! I’ll try to add pictures, and someday, I swear, I really will do a video post about this. 

Edit: Oh, yeah. You can also also combine steps 1 through 4 and just mix everything together right away, as long as you have good yeast. I like to proof mine because it makes me feel like a mad scientist, but it isn’t really entirely necessary. 

When I make pizza dough (exact same recipe!), I usually omit the second rise. 

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