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Outrageously Easy BIG Bread

What you need: 

2 (1/4 ounce) packets yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons turbinado
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups + 3 cups flour, divided
1/3 cup vegetable or corn oil

What you do: 

1. To proof yeast, pour warm water into a small ceramic bowl and add the yeast, but do not stir. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, pour hot water over the turbinado and salt; stir with a wooden spoon to completely dissolve. Combine 3 cups flour with the hot water mixture. Pour the oil on top of the dough mixture then add the yeast mixture on top of that, but do not stir.
2. Top with the remaining 3 cups flour and mix well. (I begin mixing with the wooden spoon but I very quickly have to move into squishing the dough with my hands.) At this point, the dough should be pliant and moist, but not gooey. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside to rise for at least 45 minutes. (I've left it for almost two hours.)
3. On a lightly floured cutting board or countertop, divide the dough into half. (This is when I recruit someone to knead the dough, but the recipe actually calls for no kneading; I've done this recipe many times without kneading anything, and it always turns out really good.) Flatten each half into roughly an oval/rounded rectangular shape, about 1/2-3/4" thickness.
4. Roll the dough lengthwise and place on an ungreased, but very BIG, cookie sheet. (If you don't have a very large cookie sheet, use two cookie sheets, one for each half of the dough.) Cover the dough with a moist towel and set aside to rise again for another 45 minutes (or longer).
5. After the dough has risen the second time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bake for exactly 23 minutes. If you can keep everyone from digging in right away, allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then enjoy. (Also, before the bread bakes, you can slit the top of each lump of dough a couple of times and brush lightly with some kind of egg substitute. The glaze helps the bread come out with a slightly crunchier crust. I don't usually bother.)
Source of recipe: Whenever I go to potlucks, I bake this bread and it disappears within minutes. I've even had special requests for it. At a family Christmas, after I found out that store-bought rolls (ick!) would be served with the Christmas Eve dinner, I announced that I would make homemade bread. Since dinner would be served in a little less than two hours and since my family knows how much I absolutely detest cooking, my mother thought I was lying. She couldn't believe that I could make "respectable" bread without any kneading and in time for dinner. I made this bread and, as usual, it vanished almost instantly. My mother got this bread recipe from me. I think the dogs got the store-bought rolls.

Preparation Time: 
2 hours, Cooking time: 23 minutes
Cooking Time: 
23 minutes
Servings: 
2
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

WOW!! I haven't been on VegWeb in ages and ages, but I was looking for a vegan spinach/ranch dip recipe and decided to breeze by this bread recipe. I am stunned at all of the responses! :o I must say that this is wonderful.

A little history: in grad school, I was stressing about my very tight budget and moaning about the prices that grocery stores charge for something as simple as bread. A friend of mine (another very poor grad student) shared this recipe with me. She believed in sharing good things with as many people as possible. Besides sharing the recipe with friends and family, I posted the recipe here, and all of you VegWeb folks have certainly carried on the tradition of sharing good things. There are so many neat variations and additions! Thanks to all of you, there have to be at least 15 different ways to make this bread now. You all rock! I wish you all many loaves of yummy bread. :)

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Outstanding - easy- delicious. incredible - everytime

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This was amazing and *super* easy.  When I halved the dough, I made one into a plain boule-shaped loaf.  For the second, right before I rolled it up to form the loaf (before the second rise), I spread a paste I made out of roasted garlic, dried rosemary, black pepper and olive oil (put through the food processor).  I glazed both with a salt solution (1 t. salt to 3 T. water) to make a crispier crust.  Right after putting the loaves in to bake, you can also pour a cup or so of water straight into the bottom of the oven to get a burst of steam (make sure you close the oven door right away ^_^), and again at about 5 minutes in, which will give you a crispier crust.  (Disregard this if you don't like crusty breads...)  Once the crust starts to get some color, stop steaming so the crust will start to form.  Keeping the outside soft for the first part of the baking ensures that the middle will cook all the way through. 
I can't wait to make it again!  (Maybe I'll try raisin bread next....)

Thanks!

p.s. Like bec1029, my bread was really flat and pretty big around.  Since I wasn't making sandwich bread, it wasn't a big deal.  I think if I were to make a loaf of bread for sandwiches, I would use a loaf pan instead of a baking sheet or bread stone.  I also would brush the top with margarine or oil right before and right after baking to make the crust soft, rather than crusty.

Greenwan, if I've caught you in time, try using a loaf pan.  The bread should rise a little bit in the oven, and maybe that can save it.  (Hope it helps!)

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Am making this bread with little alteration but it's not rising very much the second time around. Did as recipe said and am using 4c.whole wheat bread flour, and 2c. white unbleached bread flour- both by King Arthur Flour. The only thing I did wrong, that I can tell, is I forgot to put the yeast on top of the oil before mixing. I made one stir, remembered, added, finished. If, after the first rise, I made the dough into 2 fairly mounded rounds, will I end up with a nice,  artisan-style loaf? Anyone have help? Thanks, in advance. Hope it tastes better than it looks at the moment!

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Even when screwed up this bread is kind of awesome. Our measuring spoons have gone missing (oh college kitchens) so I literally used a table (setting) spoon and I was making a 2/3 batch and I think I messed up the math at least once. Also, scoring was a bad idea. My bread was huge in circumference but very short, but it still tasted great, great for dipping in hummus or oil and I think I'll do a caprese salad with it tomorrow.

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Anonymous

Super good!  I made this tonight and it was great!  I will slice it up and use it for toast and sandwiches. Thanks for the recipe.  Takes a while to get made but it sure is worth it!!

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This bread was great. I did it a little differently thought.

I whisked the yeast and warm water mixture before pouring it into the flour part.
I added 2 tablespoons of honey, instead of sugar.
I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
I kneaded it for 10 minutes before letting it rise in a greased bowel the first time.
I did not knead it again, just punched it down after the first rise. I then divided it into to breads, and I actually wound up making 2 braided breads. I put them on a greased cookie sheet and let them rise.
Before baking, I brushed them both with olive oil and sprinkled one with sea salt, the other with sesame seeds.
Then, I baked at 350 for 25 minutes.

They came out: 1. enormous, 2. golden brown and crispy on the outside, 2. warm and pliant on the inside.

In short - DELICIOUS!

I will say that I think kneading before the first rise makes a big difference. Then, no kneading after that just punching down and shaping into whatever kind of bread one wants. Then leaving it to rise. For those of you whose breads turned out too "flat" ... try this method. And make sure your yeast is good!

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Made this bread on Tuesday, both loaves are gone. You are my hero.

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I have to admit, last time I made it it was amazing. This time I used all whole wheat flour, and it turned out dense and barely rose. I'll use a combo of flours next time.

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After all the positive reviews, I couldn't wait to try this one.  Since it was my first try, I just stayed with the recipe, except that I cut the salt to one teaspoon. That wasn't quite enough though, so next time I make it I'll try two teaspoons.  I used 5 cups of basic whole wheat flour and 1 cup of unbleached white flour and kneaded a little, then rolled the loaves like a jelly roll and baked them seam-side down on my big cookie sheet.  It was very easy and turned out delicious.  I'll definitely make this again and try some of the great variations from the reviews.  :D

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