As You Like It Bread

 

There was a complaint that there haven’t been enough recipes lately, so here is one of my faves. I developed it from a much older recipe that made four loaves, two white, one carrot-raisin, and one molasses spice. Four is far too many for me, so I cut it in half and then experimented with various whole-grain additions. I make this all the time. It’s easy and almost foolproof. The loaves in the pic are made with cornmeal.

You need a bit of experience with yeast breads to be able to work out my sketchy instructions. If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend no more than two cups in place of white flour.

 

Combine in a mixing bowl 2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp. of dry yeast. If you use whole wheat flour, it should be now.

Combine in a saucepan:

  • 1 cup whole grain (cornmeal, oatmeal, bulgur wheat, whatever)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. sweetener (sugar, honey, molasses, whatever)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

and heat, with stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add 1-1/2 cup cool water and add to the flour – yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Add flour until the dough is ready to knead, about 2-4 cups.

Knead until the dough is springy. Allow to rise until doubled, punch down and allow to rise until doubled again. Split into two and form into loaves in loaf pans. Allow to rise and bake 40 minutes in a 400 F oven. Turn out on a cooling rack.

 






55 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Sounds like a pretty easy recipe and I love to make my own bread from scratch. Thanks.

  2. 2
    Cheap Jim says:

    Honestly, with the rising and kneading and waiting, I’ve never really wanted to make bread.

  3. 3
    Felonius Monk says:

    Nice. Looks yum.

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    Great. I just finished cleaning up after dinner and looking at this, I’m hungry all over again.

  5. 5
    cmorenc says:

    Whoever said: “Man cannot live by bread alone?”

  6. 6
    Steeplejack says:

    If you use whole wheat flour, it should be now.

    This is a little cryptic.

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    Looks great! My husband is usually the baker in the family, but I made a simple yeast bread a few weeks back that turned out very well. Might have to give your recipe a try!

  8. 8
    ThresherK says:

    I’ve been extending myself to different breads, and this looks like it’s worth a go.

    Plus it’s cold and dark out, which means more oven use for me.

  9. 9
    normal liberal says:

    @Steeplejack:
    I think that reads as “if you plan to use whole wheat flour, use it to combine with the yeast”
    Then all the remaining flour should be the generic bread? or all purpose.
    ETA I think I would try it with oatmeal and molasses, and possibly less of the whole wheat flour, but that’s just because it reminds me of a long lost recipe I really loved.

  10. 10
    pk says:

    This is regular dry yeast, not instant, I assume?

    Trying tonight. Very similar to a modified version of a Tassajara recipe I used to make. Using molasses and oatmeal in fact. Thanks for posting. (longtime lurker)

  11. 11
    mainmata says:

    Wow, this is the first bread recipe I’ve ever seen in which the yeast goes directly into the flour instead of being put into lukewarm water with a bit of sugar to let it foam up but clearly your loaves are awesomely full. I shall definitely try this approach. I assume the basic recipe doesn’t change with the carrot/raisin and molasses/spice variant.

  12. 12
    Mike J says:

    Trying to figure out dinner. For a while I thought that in honor of Veteran’s Day, 11/11, I’d have Eggos. I’ve decided I’m not really that committed to the joke.

  13. 13
    dmsilev says:

    @mainmata: Looks a bit similar to a sourdough starter; that’s flour and water, plus some yeast-like something.

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    a) It wasn’t a complaint, it was an observation. And thank you.

    b) A goodly number of moons ago, someone (unfortunately don’t recall who) on a food thread here asked for this recipe. At the time I replied that had mislaid it. Recently came across it during an uncharacteristic cleaning and straightening up jag. With any luck, whoever asked will see it in a food-centric thread.

    Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

    3 boxes (frozen, 10 oz..) or 30 oz. frozen in bag (if using frozen, let defrost) or equivalent amount (~ 2 lb.) fresh Brussels sprouts
    3 slices bacon
    1 medium onion
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
    2 tbl. maple syrup

    Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
    Slice onion in half, then into thin slices, crosswise.
    Trim tough ends and any yellowish leaves from sprouts. Score a shallow X in the bottom of each sprout if using fresh sprouts.
    In covered non-stick skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling.
    Add sprouts to skillet, heat again until boiling.
    Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes or until sprouts are just tender-crisp.
    Remove sprouts and plunge into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain thoroughly. Pour off any liquid still in skillet.
    In same skillet, cook bacon, onion, salt & pepper. Drizzle in 1 tbl. maple syrup oiver medium-high heat. Cook about 7 or 8 minutes until onion and bacon are browned, stirring frequently.
    Cut sprouts lengthwise into thin slices. Add those to skillet, cook additional 6 or 7 minutes until all liquid evaporates and sprout slices are lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
    Drizzle in remaining 1 tbl. maple syrup, cook 1 minute additional to heat through..

    @Cheap Jim

    Three words: Irish Soda Bread. No kneading to speak of other than shaping the dough, no waiting for any rising. Gazillion recipes on the ‘net.

    Also lots of variations on beer breads out there that require no kneading, no rising.

  15. 15
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @mainmata: The carrot/raisin and molasses/spice are a bit more complicated. Maybe I’ll offer those up another time. They are very good indeed.

  16. 16
    pk says:

    So instant is usually added to flour and not dissolved. Is this instant yeast?

  17. 17
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @pk: I’m not sure. It’s something I got from King Arthur baking and keep in the freezer. Might be instant.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    Rule of thumb is that unless a recipe specifically calls for rapid rise yeast, always best to presume it means regular ol’ active dry yeast.

  19. 19
    Jay S says:

    @pk: Instant yeast is commonly called for but most modern yeast will work, I’ve done this with the Costco Redstar bulk yeast without problems. The only difference I have noticed is standard yeast can take a bit longer for the first rise if the dough is too cool. Proofing standard yeast does generally speed up the first rise in any case.

  20. 20
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @NotMax: I have done this for years and had no problems. As I said, the instructions are somewhat sketchy, so you probably need some experience with yeast dough before using them.

  21. 21
    Karen Potter says:

    Sounds interesting, I haven’t made bread since divorce; it is close to what I used to make other than I ground own flour just before starting dough. Fresh ground flour is warm and absorbs liquids better than usual, I also stopped using quick rise yeast after finding out that was causing some people in family to react to bread when they didn’t have that same reaction to my sourdough bread.

  22. 22
    Jay S says:

    @NotMax: For most recipes active dry and instant/rapid rise can be used interchangeably. Bread machines may be the exception for short cycle breads.There is some difference in rise times and flavor but for hand made bread not much difference to my taste. Even cool rise no-knead breads that prefer instant yeast generally work with active dry yeast.

  23. 23
    Jay S says:

    @Jay S: When I say generally, I can’t attribute any failure I have had to the type of yeast without some operator error (water temperature too high, or over proofing)

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    King Arthur link covering Instant yeast vs. rapid rise yeast.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    @Jay S

    Yeah, it can be confusing. I tend to use the terms instant and active dry interchangeably (even though they are not strictly identical), differentiating from rapid rise.

  26. 26
    Jay S says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Mixing the yeast with the flour acts as a temperature buffer, helpful because of the mix of boiled ingredients and cool water having an indeterminate temperature. As you probably know yeast dies off with temperatures over 125F or so. The buffering provides a safety factor to protect the yeast in case the liquid is still above the safe temperature range.

  27. 27
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @NotMax: I don’t know why you feel you have to educate me. I’ll order something from King Arthur, or maybe buy it at Costco, as Jay S mentioned. I’m fine with what I’ve been doing and will continue to do it.

  28. 28
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Jay S: Yes. That’s why I add the cool water to the boiled mixture. Never has failed except for one or two times I’ve forgotten to include the yeast.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    In no way at all pooh-poohing you. Thought it might be helpful to some to have information about various types of yeasts, that’s all.

  30. 30
    Jay S says:

    @NotMax: My understanding is that SAF instant is basically the same as rapid rise. Active dry yeast theoretically requires hroofing, but current strains have nearly the same characteristics as rapid rise, and have never strictly required proofing in my experience over 20 years. Here’s a description of the various types of yeast

  31. 31
    James E. Powell says:

    @NotMax:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Yeah, I gotta say, I thought the link was tossed into the discussion and not aimed at you or anyone one person. I also thought it was interesting and helpful.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    @Jay S

    My fault, really, for saying regular ol’ active dry above instead of regular ol’ active dry or instant.

  33. 33
    Jay S says:

    @NotMax: I rushed my last comment and apparently didn’t get the link in.
    https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-active-dry-yeast-and-instant-yeast-54252
    But in reality for most purposes yeast is yeast and behaves very similarly except for some edge cases generally involving time factors.

  34. 34
    Jay S says:

    @NotMax:And I missed your KAF link which covers much the same info with a different perspective.

  35. 35
    Jay S says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ah yes, forgetting the yeast is always embarrassing. I still have to think twice about that, and salt..

  36. 36
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I probably should explain my philosophy of cooking.

    Cooking is more robust than a lot of people make it. I am not worried about whether I add two or three thyme leaves to a stew. As I developed this recipe, I tried whatever yeast I had, and it worked. Then I bought some more yeast, and that worked. They were dry powders.

    There are some things, like souffles and angel cakes, that require more precision. I mostly don’t make stuff like that, but I can. I also once made a batch of catalyst that a catalyst expert said was the best he had ever seen from what we chemists and chemical engineers call a recipe. If I had worked more on that project, I probably would have messed around with temperatures and proportions and pressures, but at that point, I just wanted the catalyst for something else and didn’t have time to mess around. I’ve done that with food recipes too.

    I’m not a foodie, so I can’t taste the difference between two and three thyme leaves. I also think that a lot of the precision implied or demanded in many recipes is fictional. Once upon a time, the instructions for cakes were to cream the shortening and sugar, then add eggs, then flavorings, then flour and dry ingredients. Now a recipe is as likely as not to dump it all into a bowl and beat. Partly that’s because if you’re doing it by hand, the stepwise method is easier, and everyone has heavy-duty mixers these days that can handle everything at once.

    Partly this is a result of a lifetime of cooking and getting to know what the critical factors are. I still can’t get egg whites right for a meringue. (And no, please don’t tell me your failure-proof trick.)

    I go for serviceable and delicious rather than precise and exotic. The bread recipe is serviceable and delicious. It probably doesn’t matter what kind of dry yeast you use.

    I’m sorry if I was crabby. I blocked two mansplainers today on Twitter, so I may be more sensitive than usual.

  37. 37
    pk says:

    @Jay S: Wow, went away to look up instant vs. ADY in my bread books and came back to entire discussion. Most people these days seem to prefer instant. I’m used to regular as I started making bread around the era of Tassajara, ages ago. Most of the books said, use less instant and that most people like instant because it can be added any time or with flour and not dissolved. And maybe the newer versions of instant and ADF are designed to be nearly interchangeable. Instant wasn’t easily available when I started baking bread. Interesting that KAF says it doesn’t matter. But I guess it’s variable depending on what grain you add, atmospheric temps, and whether adding milk butter eggs etc. Oat doesn’t usually add much weight especially if semi-cooked first, so guess I’ll go with regular. Thanks for all the input.

    Your loaves, Cheryl, are quite large/high–and beautiful–for 4-5 cups so maybe that’s the larger amount of yeast. That link had interesting comments section. Seems like some people like the discussion, minutiae of bread options/chemistry and I find it interesting. But some of the best bread bakers I know just use experience and don’t fuss with options.

  38. 38
    Lulymay says:

    @Jay S:

    Hey, I live in BC (north and west of everybody) and my son gets me the same yeast from Costco which I use in my breadmaker. That pkge last me more than a year! great value.
    Anyhow, I’m looking at how to adapt this bread recipe to a breadmaker – unfortunately, I have arthritis and my hands just can’t do what they used to. Wish me luck!

  39. 39
    Kevin the hen says:

    Serious question here – have baked yeast breads, pizza crusts, etc for > 20 yrs but have lessened due to lower carb diets and a gluten-free spouse. I am puzzled over the use of corn meal w/o any wheat flour here – without any gluten-containing flour how does the matrix form to allow for a rise? I have made many a baking powder/soda cornbread but the rise is not the same as a sandwich loaf. What am I missing? My initial reaction was that if I tried this with corn meal and/or oatmeal that I’d end up with a very dense brick. Would love to be wrong!

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    This recipe reminds me of one my family used to make. I found the recipe when learning about WWI for my 5th grade history class. We were learning about how people economized on the home front to provide more food for the soldiers in France. One of the things they’d do is to substitute left-over oatmeal for some fraction of the flour, exactly as you are doing. As was popular during WWI, they called it “Liberty” bread. My mother liked it because we had oatmeal regularly, and it gave her something to do with the leftovers. I remember that it was tasty and kept moist but didn’t rise quite as well as bread made exclusively with regular flour.

    Now I’m heading back to my marmalade making. My favorite citrus farmer had Seville oranges this week, so I got 8 pounds to make marmalade. I think I’m going to run out of jars; 8 pounds of Seville oranges makes a lot of peel and a correspondingly large amount of marmalade.

  41. 41
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Kevin the hen: White flour in the bowl with the yeast. And after you add the corn meal mush, add flour to make a kneadable dough. Altogether about 4-6 cups of white flour. Corn meal or oatmeal would indeed make a dense brick.

  42. 42
    Kevin the hen says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks – re-reading I get it now. Wasn’t accounting for the flour mixed with the yeast!

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Once upon a time, the instructions for cakes were to cream the shortening and sugar, then add eggs, then flavorings, then flour and dry ingredients. Now a recipe is as likely as not to dump it all into a bowl and beat. Partly that’s because if you’re doing it by hand, the stepwise method is easier, and everyone has heavy-duty mixers these days that can handle everything at once.

    There were actually more complicated reasons for mixing ingredients in a particular order. Creaming the sugar and butter helped to aerate the fat and give the final cake a lighter texture. That’s less important now because most of the baking shortenings are pre-aerated but it might be important if you’re using butter.

    Harold McGee goes into a lot of detail about this kind of thing in On Food And Cooking. I highly recommend it. You might find his discussions of chemistry to be a bit simplistic, but he does a very good job of showing how what’s happening at the microscopic (and even molecular) level affects cooking. If you’re a do it yourself without following recipes kind of cook, it’s very helpful because it give you the information you need to be able to plan things without following somebody else’s plan.

  44. 44
    Jay S says:

    @Lulymay: Well you’d have to scale it to the size of your machine, I’d guess about half a recipe for a 1.5 pound loaf machine. Cook the grains and mix with the liquids, use 2.5 to 3 cups of flour added either before or after the liquids depending on how other recipes for your machine do it (some want flour on the bottom and some on top). Really this is just a simplified Anadama recipe with a clever trick to not have to wait for the cooked grains to cool down. If you can find an Anadama recipe scaled to your machine you generalize it as this recipe does and mix the yeast in the flour by hand to skip the cool down period.

  45. 45
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Roger Moore: I have a couple of books like that. I know there are some reasons for various operations for some recipes. I tend to think about bread and cake recipes in terms of phase diagrams, so popovers are ‘way over on the egg side, and bread on the flour side. Whipping air in or developing gluten sometimes matters. But on the whole, my experience is that unless you’re getting fancy, a lot of that stuff doesn’t make a lot of difference.

  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    @Lulymay

    As you’re a beard machine person, will repeat something from an earlier thread which might pique interest.

    Got much, much closer to replicating real NY Jewish rye bread by using some on their face bizarre ingredients.

    Substituted the water in the bread machine rye bread recipe with root beer (at room temp) and added in a bare dash of red wine vinegar.

    Still not quite there, but a real step forward. Once the root beer is gone, gonna try Dr. Pepper.

  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Bread machine. A beard machine would be a whole ‘nother universe.

    :)

  48. 48
    Jay S says:

    @Lulymay: Looking again, I see this uses much less sweetener than most anadama recipes do, and the sweetener is generally liquid, so you would probably need to increase the water a bit to compensate. Looking at a few current anadama bread machine recipes online they use cornmeal and try skipping the cooking cornmeal. I never liked the texture when I did that. Too gritty. You can do that with oatmeal but not other grains.

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Let me tell everyone about leaving something out while cooking. Back when we kept chickens, I loved using those eggs with the golden yolks, it made dishes so golden!

    So one night, I was home, wife was at work. I did a pretty nice stir-fry for supper, and baked a lemon meringue pie for dessert, with those golden yolks. It was a cover pie, would have been proper on Saveur or any other foodie publication. The fresh eggs made for a big firm bowl of meringue, which I swirled around on top of the golden lemon custard.

    After loving the stir-fry, I went into the kitchen and cut the pie and brought two pieces in for us to eat. At the same time, we each cut the tip of the wedge off, and put it into our mouths. At the same time, we each said “Yuck!” because the fresh squeezed lemon juice for the pie was still sitting on the counter, where I was making the pie.

    Oops!

    I have won pie contests at summer parties, and had the women tell me “Well, I use whole wheat flour for the crust!” and I have to say, “Me too!” My pie crust secret is sifting the flour several times before working in the really cold butter (or lard).

    But you cain’t make a lemon meringue pie without no lemon juice!!! No matter how beautiful it is, it won’t taste like anything but sugar, to balance with the absent lemon juice.

  50. 50
    satby says:

    @Cheap Jim: get a bread machine. You can always find good ones at Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. I once got a Zojirushi mini for about $7 that had never been used at all. Makes a one lb loaf, perfect for me.

  51. 51
    Aleta says:

    @NotMax: Me! (Requested after you’d offered it on an even earlier thread.) Thanks, it looks wonderful.

    I think I’ll send the recipe (renamed Not-Max’s Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts) on to my friends who raise chickens and goats, have food parties, and have started raising their own bacon. (It’s awfully cute in the spring to watch the little bacon bits darting around their pen.)

  52. 52
    Jay S says:

    I did a variation on this no knead Italian Sesame loaf as sandwich rolls tonight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTOqD5EBVz8
    Most of my breads lately have been using his turbo no knead technique that does no knead start to finish in under 4 hours.

  53. 53
    NotMax says:

    @Aleta

    So glad you found it.

  54. 54
    Aleta says:

    This was an interesting thread. Good explanations.

  55. 55
    Another Scott says:

    @Roger Moore: Baking is chemistry – all the things that affect chemical reactions affect how baked things turn out.

    There was a big article a few years ago (I thought it was in the FTFNYT, but I can’t find it at the moment) where someone made about 200 variations of chocolate chip cookies by preparing the ingredients in different, systematic ways, varying the temperature slightly, etc. It does make a difference.

    I’ve spent years “perfecting” a Cowboy Cookies recipe that I got from my mom. Yeah, when you find a recipe that works for you, it’s pretty easy to understand how small variations affect it and not worry about them. But getting to that point can be a challenge!

    I love fresh bread, but don’t have the patience for kneading and rising. We’ve got a Panasonic breadmaker that works very well, and talks about the importance of weighing the ingredients to better control the proportions, but I’ve been trying to cut down on carbs so I don’t use it much anymore…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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