This recipe was originally made on a whim, but it’s become a family favorite from day one. It’s a simple recipe, and yields soft loaves every time.
The recipe calls for bread flour, but you can substitute all-purpose with 1 Tbsp of vital wheat gluten per cup, OR use 50% all-purpose and 50% whole wheat. Going 100% whole wheat isn’t bad either, but it will taste very wheat-y, so just a heads up for families not used to that.
- 1½ cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3½ - 4 cups bread flour
- 2¼ tsp yeast
- 3 Tbsp dried ground rosemary (or fresh if possible)
- one egg for brushing the crust (optional)
- Combine yeast and warm water in a bowl and allow yeast to bloom (you should see beer-like foamy bubbles), about 5-10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and knead for 10 minutes on medium using a mixer, or until dough is smooth and elastic if kneading by hand. (Feel free to add more flour to your kneading surface if necessary.)
- Cover with a towel and allow dough to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to ½ hours.
- Pour onto a lightly floured surface and flatten to about 2 inches tall. Separate dough into two equal parts. Working with one section of the dough, gently punch the dough down and out, then folding the dough underneath itself. You will feel and hear air bubble pop. Repeat 3-4 times and tuck ends underneath so that the top is smooth. Place the dough, smooth side up, into a large loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 40-45 minutes. Repeat with the remaining section of dough. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Once dough has finished the second rise, take a serrated knife and quickly and lightly slash each loaf one along the top. The cut should be shallow, just enough to aid in the rise while baking.
- (optional) Mix the egg with a little bit of water and lightly brush each loaf using a designated brush (or your fingers).
- Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- When done, allow loaves to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
Baking bread in the summer? Don’t want to, or can’t use an oven? Try baking bread in a slow cooker instead! It comes out delicious and extra soft – perfect for sandwiches.