Susie Csorsz Brown
Mmmmm, brreeaaaad. Ohmigoodness, is there anything as wondering as the smell of your house when you are baking bread? Absolutely nothing, if you ask me. Well, I am of Hungarian descent, and everyone knows, one should eat bread with bread. Clearly, I am not gluten-free, and honestly, I feel a little bit sorry for anyone who is deprived of the goodness of bread. Really.
Okay, so know you know, bread is very popular in this house. And this bread? It went fast. Super fast. I think both loaves were finished within 30 minutes. Okay, so we did have some nice soft butter, and we did have some super yummy raspberry jam to go with it, but it is really that good.
It is also just about that easy to put together. Warm your water, soften and bloom your yeast, stir in the flours and let it sit. Then, a few hours later, you'll shape your dough. And again, a bit later you'll bake it. And enjoy it! I hope you try it.
yield: 2 medium-sized loaves
Ingredients 2 tsp active dry yeast 2 1/4 cups warm water (comfortably warm for your hand warm, not too hot, not too cold) 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 cups all purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup semolina flour 1 1/4 tsp salt 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water and yeast and allow to sit until foamy (this is called 'blooming'), about 10 minutes. Add in the salt, olive oil, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, semolina flour and salt. Stir with a spatula until the dough comes together. It will be somewhat loose, but that's okay. Drizzle a bit of oil down the sides of the bowl (yes, you can leave your dough right in the middle of it), turn the dough to coat, and then cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, at least 2 hours, but feel free to leave this dough to sit at room-temp for even 6 or 7 hours; you can even stick it in the fridge overnight. The longer it sits, the more developed the flavor. If you are opting to stick it in the fridge, take it out about 3 hours before you are ready to bake so it can warm up a bit before proceeding.
After the dough has risen, transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and divide it in half. You have two shaping options: free-form, on a piece of parchment paper or more structured in a loaf pan. Both instructions follow: With floured hands, carefully fold the dough into itself (stretch the outer dough and bring it to center), creating an oblong ball. The more dough you can 'stuff' into the middle, the greater the loaf will rise. Your final oblong should be rounded and smooth. Place your ball on a piece of parchment. Repeat with the second half of dough. If you want the dough to be of a more 'structured', you can also put the shaped dough into a lightly greased medium loaf pans. Cover loosely and allow to rest for 60 minutes. If you did the first rise in the fridge, allow this second rise to take as long as 2 hours. Either option, your loaves will not necessarily double in size; you'll know you're ready to bake if you lightly poke it with a moistened finger and the dent stays 'dented'.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Meanwhile, if you are baking the bread on parchment, place a large rectangular pizza stone on the center rack of your oven. Remove the top rack if necessary to make space for the bread to bake. If you don't have a stone, you can also bake the bread on a baking sheet as well. If you are baking your bread in pans, you can ignore this step.
Once ready to bake, use a sharp knife to make a slit in the center of each loaf. Sprinkle each liberally with sesame seeds. Carefully transfer each loaf onto the preheat baking stone. You can use a pizza peel or the corners of the parchment paper for this, just be careful. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. If you are baking the loaves in pans, after about 20 minutes you can flip the loaves out of the pans, and return the loaves to the wire racks of your oven to allow for greater browning and crisping of the crust.
Once the loaves are beautiful golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!