Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by CJ for Survival Blog
Bread has been called the staff of life. Throughout history has become a staple to diets across the world. There are literally thousands of bread recipes to be found in cookbooks, online, and in grandma’s little recipe file. Most recipes are actually very similar with the only difference perhaps being a little more or less flour, salt, leavening, or other agent. The one thing in common with most rising breads is the process. Adding ingredients, kneading for a given length of time, allowing to rise then baking. Hoping to find at the end, a perfectly risen mass of wonderful bread exuding a fresh aroma that is beyond compare. And if all goes well, that is exactly what you should end up with.
What I am offering today is a process that I have used for a very long time to bake a week’s worth of bread at one time, with minimal effort and a never-fail methodology. Most of my bread recipes utilize five full pounds of flour–which is how it is typically sold at a grocery store. No measuring cups, weighing, or worrying about whether you forgot to add a cup or added one too many.
WHY I USE BREAD FLOUR…
The only real difference between bread flour and all purpose flour is the protein content. Bread flour will give a lighter softer texture, while all purpose flour will give a firmer texture and crust. Other flours can be used as well–although I have not tried them. Almond flour and coconut flour are just two that come to mind. If you prefer a darker crust, then add a few tablespoons of sugar or honey.
I always use instant yeast simply because its easier to use than active dry yeast and does not need proofing. Active dry yeast such as that which is sold by Fleischmann’s needs to be mixed with warm water to become activated before adding it to the flour. Active dry yeast also requires a longer proofing time. If you want to use active dry yeast then keep both of those factors in mind. The best instant yeast I have found is made by the SAF company and is available through stores like GFS as well as from King Arthur Flour, online. I presently pay about $5.00 per pound for SAF yeast.
STORING DOUGH IN YOUR FREEZER
You can also make the bulk dough and freeze it. To do so, portion it out as you would for your loaves and place it in freezer bags. It will freeze well and I have not noticed any loss in flavor when baked a few weeks afterward.
The most basic recipe is for a standard white bread. This recipe will utilize five loaf pans measuring 4 ½ by 8 ½, although you could use any size you like.
For this recipe you will need a large container for mixing. I use a 2 gallon food grade plastic bucket.
Here are my favorite bread recipes:
EVERYDAY WHITE BREAD
Add 60 ounces of cool tap water to the bucket.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of instant yeast.
Add 1 heaping tablespoon of kosher salt
Stir until salt and yeast are blended in the water
Add 1 five pound bag of bread flour. (I use Gold Medal “Better For Bread” flour with great success.)
Stir well with large wooden spoon for a few minutes to make sure all the flour is dampened. Cover the bucket with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place on top of refrigerator or kitchen counter overnight.
In the morning you will see that the dough will have risen at least double overnight. No kneading, no mess on the counter and the dough will be ready to portion.
Spray your bread pans with a non-stick spray like Pam
Put a small amount of flour on your counter and empty the dough onto it as is usually done when making bread. Form the dough into a large circle.
Using a bench scraper or other cutting device cut the dough into five relatively equal pieces.
I say relatively because its not really important that they are exactly the same.
When divided, lift each piece into a bread pan and roughly level it with your hands. That’s it. No kneading, shaping or trying to make each loaf perfectly even.