If you’re having friends over for Sunday brunch or you need a reason to blow off the overflowing laundry hamper – make this bread. It takes no time to throw together, you don’t have to knead it, and it makes the best toast. I’ve heard this bread freezes well – however, since I live with a 12 year old eating machine, I’ve yet to test this claim. (This gem comes from the fine folks at King Arthur.)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon instant (a.k.a. rapid rise) yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, water, and oil, heat to 120° and 130°. Stir the liquid to get an accurate measure – the liquid should feel hot, but as they say, “not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water”. If you don’t have a thermometer – wing it.
3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients, and beat at a high speed for 1 minute. Grease a standard (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″) loaf pan (I like to use Crisco) and sprinkle with cornmeal.
4. Scoop the dough into the pan and level it. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise about 45 minutes to an hour – until the dough rises just a bit above the rim of the pan.
5. During the last 15 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 400°. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 22 to 27 minutes. When the loaf is golden brown, take out of oven, turn the bread out of the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Let it cool completely before slicing.