Jason's Miracle Bread Recipe
Few things are as simple as making bread. Long before humanity created the first alphabet people had discovered how to mix together flour, water, yeast, and salt to make nutrient rich loaves. Yet few recipes inspire more fear in modern cooks. It is this terror that has transformed bread making into some esoteric art form from what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers considered a simple daily task.
Making good bread does not have to be difficult or time consuming. We, The Shibaguyz, learned this from watching our grandparents. Jason’s grandpa was well known for his bread recipe. Well, technically he was known for flirting with waitresses AND his bread recipe, but that’s a story for another time
Hours before every major family gathering he could be found in the kitchen combining his ingredients. Then just before everyone arrived he’d grab handfuls of silky white dough, coat them in flour and egg wash, then pop them in the oven. Even for a man of eighty-five it only took a few minutes. As the family sat down for dinner they would pull them out of the hot oven, wrap them in a tea towel, and carry them over to the table where the kids would fight over who got to be the first to break one open and spread on some butter.
This recipe is ridiculously simple since it takes all the work out of making the bread. Namely the kneading. This bread will produce a delicious bread with crunchy crust with no kneading at all! Really, give it a shot!
6 Cups Bread Flour
1 Tbs. Rapid Rise Yeast
1 Tbs. Salt
3 Cups Lukewarm Water
2 Tbs. Honey Mixing Directions
- Combine Flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Add salt and whisk once more. Warning: Don’t pour salt directly on the yeast. Salt will kill it.
- In separate container combine Honey and Water, stir together then add to flour mixture.
- Stir until you have a wet, lumpy, gross mess. Cover with plastic wrap and set on counter away from drafts for two hours.
- DO NOT KNEAD. The bread creates it’s own gluten; so save your aching wrists and let it do the work for you.
- After two hours your bread will have risen to 2X its original size and appear bubbly and flat on top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and toss the bowl into the refrigerator.
- You are now ready to make bread at any time in the next 5 days. The longer the dough remains in the fridge the more flavor develops.
- Preheat oven to 475º for 30-45 min. If you have a pizza stone preheat it in the oven as well.
- Place a shallow metal baking dish or cast iron skillet on the bottom rack to preheat as well.
- While the oven is preheating pull the bread bowl out of the fridge. Flour your hands and working surface well. Then reach in and pull a chunk of dough from orange to grapefruit sized. This will make a small loaf for 2-3 people.
- Shape the dough into a ball by pinching the bottom and smoothing the top to create a tight skin.
- Place shaped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with tea towel. Allow to rise for at least 45 minutes while oven heats.
- When the oven is screaming hot, score the top of the bread (make an X or dashes with a sharp knife or razor blade) and pop in the oven. If using a pizza stone put bread directly on stone.
- Pour 1 cup of ice cubes into the hot pan on bottom rack and close the oven door quickly. The steam will help give you a thick crunchy crust.
- Bake for 15-30 min until golden brown and the whole house smells of bread. Time will vary depending on size of loaf. A thermometer inserted into the loaf will read between 190 to 200 degrees F. If tapped on, the loaf should sound hollow.
Once you have the standard formula down you can experiment with adding chocolate chips, dried fruit and nuts, fresh herbs, or our personal favorite, sun dried tomato pesto and chopped olives.
To do this, simply add the extra ingredients at the time of forming the loaves/rolls. Gently knead in the amount of your choosing, shape the loaf as usual, and bake on a cookie sheet to keep anything from bubbling out to the bottom of your oven.
Other easy ideas:
After forming the loaf, brush an egg wash on the skin of the dough and sprinkle it with coarse kosher salt.
Roll the dough into a flat rectangle with a rolling pin and top with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Roll into a tube along the shorter side and pinch to close the seam. Bake this in a bread pan to keep all the gooey goodness inside the loaf. This makes a great breakfast bread.
It's Freeberry season in the PNW and we have the perfect recipe…
Sometime around 1885, Luther Burbank gave the Pacific Northwest the dubious gift of the Himilayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus). We only use the word "dubious" to keep those screaming about invasive species at bay since, locally, these juicy, delectable, dark-skinned wonders are considered a noxious weed and an invasive species. We can't really speak too much about this invasive species thing right now because our mouths are full of handfuls of berries… we'll get back to you later…
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Every summer starting around the end of July and running through August, the great tangled clumps of prickly vines start to hang heavy with their ripened fat berries. Soon, the roadsides are dotted with folks holding shopping bags and plastic buckets full of purple/black globes and we are right there with 'em.
We eat plenty of the Freeberries fresh over vanilla ice cream, mixed with yogurt and granola, in pancakes and muffins and… what's that?
What y'all call the Himilayan Blackberry, we affectionately call the Freeberry. Why? Well… because they're free!
Yeah, yeah… some would argue that the price one pays in tiny scratches from the thorny canes of the Freeberry is price enough to kill the "Free" part of the moniker. To that we say wear a long sleeve shirt and jeans and pop two or three in your mouth from time to time… you'll forget all about those thorns when the sweet juices run down your tongue and you start dreaming about a bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in delicious Freeberries.
Hang on a sec… be right back…
Okay… back now.
Pay no attention to those purple stains on my fingers. Nothing to see here.
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Every season we put up a few jars of jelly, a few quarts of whole berries, and a few jars of syrup. This way, in the dreary days of winter, we have a reminder of summer every time we dip into a jar of Freeberry Jelly or take a warm bite of Jason's Freeberry Crumble with cold, sweet vanilla ice cream on top.
Oh my gosh… it's a good thing one of those crumbles is downstairs in the kitchen right now or this post just wouldn't happen.
Speaking of crumble… here's our recipe for Freeberry Crumble. Jason first made this 20 years ago when his parents were coming out to visit us for the first time. They were driving in that evening and we wanted to make dinner for them so we trekked down the street from our apartment in downtown Seattle and picked Freeberries right smack dab in the urban jungle. It was yummy then and it is just as yummy 20 years later.
1 qt. Fresh Picked Berries (frozen or canned will work just fine too)
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
Zest and Juice of half a Lime (optional… but you really should)
3/4-Cup Quick Oats
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2-Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
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Wash fresh blackberries and place in large bowl. Add the Lime Juice and Zest.
In a separate bowl combine Water & Cornstarch, Pour mixture over the berries.
NOTE: If the berries you are using are particularly juicy, you can add another ½ Tbsp of Cornstarch. If they are, however, on the dry side, add ½ Tbsp less.
Sprinkle Granulated Sugar over Berry and Cornstarch mixture; Mix gently and let stand for several minutes while making the crumble.
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl; mix well.
Cut in butter until crumbly. (You may use more or less butter.)
Pour blackberries into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle Crumble mixture evenly over the top.
Here's what ours looks like before going into the oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until the crumble is browned, the filling is bubbly and the house smells so good you want to sing the “Berry Crumble Song” from the old country… What? Your grandma didn't sing that? Just me?
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
That's it for this edition of Cookin' With The Shibaguyz! Come back soon for more recipes, general food "stuff", gardening chat, and just about anything else we can think of to get into.
talk to you soon…
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