Making bread is pretty intimidating for the uninitiated. I grew up baking biscuits and yeast rolls, and as much as I love baking and eating homemade breads, it can be a chore to bake it and have it ready by meal times.
For years, I used the famous "No Knead Bread" recipe shared by Mark Bittman in the New York Times, but eventually, it was too much, and for some reason, began to turn out...not good. The dough was far too sticky, and the bread itself was less than stellar. Plus, it took FOREVER. Planning bread up to a day ahead with an infant was almost impossible, and I was too tired to do the math to determine when I needed to set up the dough to be ready at a reasonable time.
Then I found this recipe. Oh my, 5 minutes of mixing, an hour of rising in the pan, and presto! Fresh bread for dinner. It's a very simple recipe, and in the year that I've been making it, I've never had it fall, stick, or even taste off. It's absolutely amazing.
You'll need yeast and a loaf pan for this, as well as cornmeal.
Makes 1 small loaf.
2 tsp yeast (not instant yeast)
1 tbsp white sugar
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cornmeal
oil for the pan
In a large bowl, place the yeast and sugar, and mix in the water. Allow the yeast to "wake up" for a few minutes; you will know that it is ready when it bubbles slightly. Add the flour and salt, and mix until ingredients are well combined.
Grease the loaf pan, and dust with the cornmeal to prevent bread from sticking.
Dump the dough into the pan, then cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for at least an hour. If your kitchen is chilly, the yeast will rise slower. I sometimes place my bread in my dining room to rise, as it is slightly warmer when I'm not cooking.
When dough has risen, heat the oven to 400 degrees, and bake for 30 minutes. The top will be a beautiful golden brown when ready. Carefully remove from oven, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before running a knife along the edges, and popping the loaf out of the pan.
Slice up and enjoy as toast, small sandwiches, or dinner bread.