Monthly Archives: April 2024

I’ve settled on a “stock” bread recipe

I kind of got bored with sourdough bread, and I’m not the one who really likes it, so the starters have died off and I haven’t made any sourdough bread in over a year.

I was looking for a bread recipe that would be easier, but still great to eat. My brother-in-law, Larry, just loves my bread, so I bake weekly to keep him supplied. He turned his son onto my bread as well, so I added another weekly loaf. Larry sits with his grandchildren on Fridays, so I bake on Thursday and truck the bread up to Larry. (OK, I also grow lettuce and microgreens, and bring some of that along as well).

I’ve been working on the recipe for over a year, and only in the past couple of months added some shortening. It softens the bread, allows it to stay fresh for another day or so, and even seems to give the bread a bit more chew.

This recipe scales well. I have an index card with an ingredients table for one to three loaves. That table is reproduced here:

Quantities for up to three loaves

The flour I use is King Arthur Organic Bread Flour. I use spring water, fine sea salt, Fleischmann’s Active Dry yeast, and Crisco shortening. I’m truly serious about the flour, and semi-serious about the yeast. Other ingredients can be generic. I buy Crisco out of habit, and buy organic flour not for any perceived health benefits, but for the benefit of the pollinators, without which we would not survive. I find that the shortening does not need to be cut into the dough – it will just mix in nicely. I heat the water in the microwave to about 100F. This offsets the cold of the kitchen and gives the yeast a bit of a jump start.

One loaf is just a little small for the KitchenAid mixer’s dough hook, and two loaves is just a bit too large. Three loaves is out of the question, so I just mix and knead the dough by hand until it’s smooth. I proof the bread until about double, then divide the dough into equal parts, and grease the pans with bacon grease left over from breakfast. The loaves are shaped and put into the pans, and after the final proof, the loaves are scored and baked at 425F for 38-41 minutes in the middle rack. That’s in my oven. Your oven will definitely behave differently.