Fall is in the air in Summit County. The aspens are lit up like fire across the mountains, the mornings are brisk and the tourists have gone home for the summer. Life is good. I always say that I don’t want summer to end, but am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy autumn. As hard as it is to say during our amazing summers in Colorado, I really love all the seasons- especially right as they are changing. There is a cozy feeling about autumn that makes me want to bake- warm, fluffy bread.
A couple years ago, I lost the bowl to my KitchenAid in a move… Tragic? Actually not! There is a reason I haven’t bought myself a new one- I really don’t need it. I began baking bread all from hand; yes, I know the KitchenAid makes perfect dough, but there is something to be said for making your dough with your own two hands. I really enjoy the process of kneading the dough by hand. It’s almost meditative. I recently found that if you throw it vigorously back and forth between your hands, make sure to stick your fingers out, it acts like a dough hook. It sounds silly, but when your bread turns out perfect you will be thanking me. I found my recipe on Steamy Kitchen, but adapted it for handmade dough. If you are using a KitchenAid, check out her site.
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 tsp active quick rising dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Add 3 3/4 cups of bread flour to a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast across one half and salt across the other.
- Slowly pour in warm water while whisking the flour.
- Begin to whisk at a medium speed until dough beings to form.
- Coat your hands in flour and begin to throw the dough back and forth vigorously between fingers for 2 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour.
- Rest the dough for 5 minutes.
- Continue to toss dough between fingers for 3 more minutes.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup flour across countertop. Begin kneading dough by hand until a smooth, tight ball is formed, about 10 minutes. Be sure to use the heel of your palm when kneading.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- When dough is almost risen, preheat oven to 450F. Place your bread pan, pizza stone, or other baking vessel in the oven to heat as well.
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough once and form back into a ball.
- Cut the dough in half, covering the second half to form after the first.
- Shape the dough into desired cooking shape; if using a bread pan, be sure it is shaped to the full length of the pan and oil the pan before adding dough.
- Let dough rise for 30 more minutes on counter top.
- Removing baking vessel from the oven, and place dough on/in it. Before baking, cut diagonal slits across the dough to allow steam to release while it cooks.
- Bake the dough until an internal temperature of 200F is reached, about 25 minutes.