Happy Late New Year Everyone! Well I’ve decided that since I have over 200 cookbooks and cooking magazines (I know a bit excessive, I can’t help it, I collect them) it’s now time to use them or loose them. I guess you can say that’s my New Years cooking resolution! The first cookbook I chose out of my collection is The Best of Food & Wine The Italian Collection. That is where this recipe for Quick Loaf Bread came from. I have to say I wasn’t so sure that this bread was going to turn out. I’m pretty much a beginner when it comes to bread making and it seemed to me that my dough wasn’t rising enough. My worries were put to rest with the end result. My bread loaf looked nice and tasted great!
This recipe makes two loaves. I served this fresh bread New Years Eve and we dipped it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used the rosemary infused olive oil I made a few weeks ago). It was very very good!! The ingredients are:
- 2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons honey or sugar (I used sugar)
- 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey. Stir briefly and let stand until the yeast dissolves and begins to foam, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir 3 cups of the flour and the salt into the yeast mixture and beat well until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a fairly soft dough; do not add more flour than the dough can absorb.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the dough is just barely nonsticky, about 2 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat with a light film of oil. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and divide in half, place each half in a well-greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Turn out onto racks and let cool before storing.