Without further ado -one of my favorite bread recipes. You can substitute flours in whatever combination you wish to experiment with keeping in mind the texture you want from the finished bread and the gluten contents of the flours you are using. For this batch I used almost equal parts of bread flour, white whole wheat and all purpose flour.
2-1/4 teaspoons of Dry Active Yeast (1 packet)
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 cups Warm Water
1 teaspoon Salt
4-5 cups of All Purpose Flour
Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in your mixing bowl.
Let sit about five minutes, or until foamy.
Add 1/2 of the flour and salt and mix. (*If you are using multiple types of flour, it can save time to combine the flours in a separate bowl and add the flour mixture to the bread dough)
Continue to work in remaining flour until dough pulls away from the bowl. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or cover lightly with oil. With floured hands, removed dough from the mixing bowl and place dough in the clean bowl. Turn it over so that the ball of dough is lightly coated with oil/cooking spray.
Cover and allow to rise for 1-2 hours or until at least doubled in size.
Here is where this recipe differs from many others. From this point on, you want to handle the dough as little as possible. You can either make one large loaf, or two small loaves. Since we are a small family, I usually opt for the small loaves-you may choose your own adventure here! :)
Take a sharp or serrated knife and separate the dough (skip this step if making one loaf).
I made one free form loaf one sandwich style loaf from the two pieces of dough. To form the free form loaf, remove one of the pieces of dough gently with floured hands. Gently pull the sides down towards the bottom of the loaf until a smooth ball is formed. Place dough on a floured silicone sheet or parchment paper and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
While the free-form loaf is resting, preheat your oven to 425 and place your baking stone in the middle of the oven and a metal baking pan or broiler pan underneath it. Once dough has begun to rise a bit, score the top of the loaf with your sharp or serrated knife. When the oven is hot, place the loaf (parchment/silicone sheet and all) onto the baking stone and pour about 1 cup of water into the baking pan and carefully and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until nicely browned. Loaf should sound hollow if tapped. The longer you bake, the crisper the crust.
In the same fashion, take the second piece of dough and pull it into an oval and place it in a greased loaf pan. I only have glass pans, so I knew I wouldn't have a very "sturdy" crust on that loaf.
Allow the loaf to rise 30-40 minutes and score the top if you choose. Then bake at 375 for 40-60 minutes -or until browned and it sounds hollow to the tap.
After warming the house on this rainy afternoon and making it smell WAY too good, here were the finished loaves:
And by the time they had cooled enough to cut into, everyone was ready to eat!
(It was still a little to warm so the middle gummed together a bit when we cut into it!)