Imagine a great holiday feast with all sorts of goodies to savor. Meats, sides and desserts are all present but everyone notices that there is no bread. This seldomly occurred at my house over the holidays because my grandmother always baked bread as a main part of the meal.
Bread and rolls were a necessity around my grandmothers table and it was understood that no holiday could be complete without my grandmother’s bread.
Years later, when I threw my own holiday dinners I struggled to find a recipe to even match grandmas in taste. I had no idea at the time how simple and versatile my grandmother’s recipe was and when I finally made it I couldn’t stop making it because it tastes so good and everyone around the dinner table wanted more.
Grandma’s bread is easy, has few ingredients and the dough can be stored for a couple of weeks making it the ideal bread for the holidays since I can be made ahead and stored.
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
3 c lukewarm water
6 c any kind of white flour (more flour for dusting)
(I like to put a bit of garlic powder and occasionally other herbs in the dough)
1 In a large plastic container with a lid mix the water, salt and yeast.
2 Add the flour.
3 Stir with wooden spoon just until there are no dry pockets of flour. You may need to use your hands.
4 Let stand covered for 3 to 5 hours
5 At this point the dough is ready to be used or refrigerated.
6 When ready to cook a loaf, cut off a grapefruit size ball of dough.
7 Gently pull the sides out and under until the surface is smooth. The bottom will be messy, but that is okay.
8 Place on sheet of parchment paper and let rest for 20 minutes.
9 Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone and an oven proof container for water also inside(I have a baking stone but a baking sheet will also be ok.
10 After the oven is preheated, slash the top of the bread about 3 times, approximately 1 inch deep. You can flour the knife to make it easier to cut thru the dough.
11 Quickly slide the bread and parchment paper on the preheated stone/tray. Add 1 cup of hot water to the hot container (this makes the crust crustier).
12 Bake for 30-35 minutes at 450. Do not open because you will let out the steam produced by the water.
13 Cool on a wire rack (removing the parchment paper). If you can wait, it slices more easily after it has cooled.
14 This makes about 3 loaves. The recipe can easily be doubled. Unbaked bread can sit in the refrigerator for a week to two weeks.