Best Homemade Bread

I made a few small changes, but this is the basic recipe and what works for us ~

I use the half recipe:

3 cups of water (warm tap water not over 100 degrees)

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast – (I switched to nearly 2 Tbsp of yeast)

1 1/2 Tbsp non-iodized sea salt

6 cups flour (dip cup into flour and level with knife – no need to sift)

Add yeast and salt to warm water and let sit while preparing flour.  Put flour in large bowl.  I have used combinations of white and whole wheat and add flax seed, granola, or other grains (about 1/3 cup of barley left over from beer making).  Lately I have been using mostly white flour, sometimes substituting 1 to 2 cups with whole wheat flour, and adding an additional ¼ to ½ cup or so of barley and some flax seed.

After mixing flour/grains add the yeast/salt water and hand mix all together till moist (take only a minute or less).  Let the bowl sit lightly covered at room temperature for about an hour – till it rises and levels a bit.  

I make 3 loaves out of every batch.  You can shape a loaf and bake now or put the whole thing in the frig (still lightly covered or loose lid – not tight) and take out some when you are ready to bake.  It’s best when it sits in the frig a while first. 

Cut out about 1/3 of the batch, sprinkle with flour so it won’t stick to your hands, stretch the top around to the bottom and shape loaf.  Let sit on floured board for about 20 to 30 minutes.  I’ve let it sit just long enough to preheat the oven and it has turned out fine.  Preheat oven, broiler pan and baking sheet (or baking stone if you have one – I don’t) to 450 degrees.  Just before putting the loaf in the oven sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal.  After the loaf sits (it doesn’t rise much till it goes into the oven) lightly flour the top and cut slits in it.  With floured spatula scoop up loaf and slide onto the preheated cookie sheet.  Pour about 1 cup of water into broiler pan on rack under the bread (this is VERY IMPORTANT for the bread to come out with a nice crust).  Bake for about 35 minutes and it’s done, delicious, and ready to eat!

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