In the town where we live, we can buy white bread or “brown” bread (whole wheat). Any other kind of bread, we make ourselves. So I’ve had a lot more practice than I used to making my own dinner rolls, naan, and bread creations to go with different meals. Here’s one of my favorite recipes, adapted from a cookbook written by/for missionaries at an international boarding school here in Kenya. Of course, I had to tweak it.
Fast and Easy French Bread (with Haley’s adjustments):
- Mix about 1.5-2 Tbs salt with 500 mLs (2 cups) hot water, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 Tbs vegetable oil together and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix 2 Tbs yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tsp honey together, and let it all sit until it does it’s bubbly-foamy-yeast-activation thing (maybe 10 minutes?). If you accidentally dumped your “hot” instead of “warm” water into this bowl and killed your yeast, redo this part.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add it to the mixing bowl in the first step along with 6-8 cups of flour (I usually do a 3:1 ratio of brown to white flour, because that way it’s more filling without as many straw pieces to pick out as you eat the final product – but to each their own). I usually also add in some chopped fresh rosemary and coarsely chopped garlic cloves – 4 on a regular day, maybe 6 cloves if feeling sassy.
- You keep gradually adding in the flour and mixing the dough until it’s no longer sticky, or at least is really hefty and less sticky.
- Then either use a dough hook in a mixer if you have it, or manually pummel the dough for about 10 minutes. This totally counts as exercise.
- Dump dough out, shape into 2 loaves and place on cooking sheet. It’s probably supposed to be oiled, but I’ve forgotten to do that every time so far and it only stuck to the pan once.
- Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes, then slash diagonal lines across the top with a knife. Bake at 200-210 C (400 F) for about 20 minutes.
- Eat the bread!
If you make this bread and figure out ways to make it faster, easier, or better, feel free to let me know! I’m definitely not an experienced baker, by any means, but learning to support my own bread habit.