A Basic Bread Recipe

There have been a couple of requests for the recipe I use to make my bread.  It is Mollie Katzen’s Basic Bread Recipe from her cookbook The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  She is the same chef/writer/illustrator who wrote the famous crunchy hippy cookbook The Moosewood Cookbook back in the 70’s.  I highly recommend The Enchanted Broccoli Forest for anyone looking to learn to bake bread.  It has a great illustrated section that takes you through the process step by step and also several pages of Bread Questions and Answers.

A Basic Bread Recipe by Mollie Katzen

This yields 2 loaves

The Sponge:

2 pkg. (2 Tbs.) active, dry yeast

1 1/2 cups wrist temperature water

a drop of honey or molasses

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1) Sprinkle the yeast in the water.  Add the sweetener, stir, and let it stand stand 5 minutes.

2) Beat in the flour, cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 30-60 minutes.  While it rises prepare:

The Mix:

1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup honey or molasses

2 tsp salt

Melt these together in a pan, then beat together.  When your sponge has risen, beat the mix into the sponge and beat 100 strokes with a wooden spoon.

Additional Flour:

approximately 2 more cups of whole wheat flour        plus

approximately 2 more cups of unbleached white flour

( l always add the whole wheat flour first so as to get the most whole wheat in my loaf)

1) Add the flour, about a 1/2 cup at a time, graduating from a wooden spoon to hand mixing, as the dough thickens.  When all (or as much as you need) of the flour is added, turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and…

2) Knead it a good 15-20 minutes.  Add small amounts of extra flour if the dough persists in stickiness (ok, so when I add my additional flour -above- I usually only use 2 1/2 or 3 cups, the rest I use in this stage, but I don’t always use all four additional cups.  The more flour you add the drier your final loaf will be).

3) Return the kneaded dough to an oiled bowl, roll it around in the bowl, and then flip it over, so that it gets all nicely oiled, and let it rise, covered with a warm damp towel, until its bulk has doubled (about an hour).

4) Punch down the risen dough, turn it out onto a floured surface, and knead it another 15-20 minutes (again, add bits of flour only if necessary).

5) Cut the dough in half, roll each piece out into a 1/2 thick oval and roll up. Put each loaf upside down in a WELL oiled pan, then flip over and be sure to push the dough into the corners of the pan.  Cover your pans with your same warm damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in bulk one more time.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

6) Once doubled in bulk bake loaves (together) for 30- 40 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.  If you’re using bread pans, remove the pans right away, so that the crust can crispen. If you can restrain yourself from pouncing upon the bread with an eager knife and mouth for about 10 minutes you will find that this cooling off period will allow it to slice more easily.

Well, enjoy your bread.  I’m off to enjoy mine.


About Erin O'Neill

Hi, my name is Erin O'Neill. I am a part time urban homesteader and a full time homemaker and new mom. I enjoy canning my own food, crafting, raising chickens and working my bit of land. This blog is for anyone who wants to hear about the day to day struggles and successes of incorporating the old ways of life back into today's busy world.
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