the best homemade bread ever

I honestly felt like I had already written this up to be honest... but it deserves another post.

Last weekend amidst prepping for a couple days in LA, I pumped two loaves of homemade bread out of my kitchen. One was more of a wheat loaf, the other just plain ole white. I had wanted to mail something to my grandfather since I hadn't sent much his way in a few weeks. The other loaf was to bribe my sister to visit Eleanor while I was out of town.

While I had made the white bread before to accompany the Country Beef stew, the wheat bread was a new experiment. I had a bag of wheat bran on hand from the healthiest muffins ever a few weeks earlier. I haphazardly swapped one cup of regular flour for one cup of wheat bran and just hoped for the best. I barely got the bread out of the oven in time to take it to yoga and then the post office. Pretty sure it was a terrible thing to have the smell of fresh bread wafting out of my bag at a yoga studio.

The result? I had the following conversation with my grandfather on Saturday morning:
G: I got your bread on Monday afternoon.
Me: Oh that's great! It was a bit of an experiment.
G: I wanted to tell you that you should quit your job ... and just bake bread.
So, if that isn't a resounding recommendation to try this recipe... you are an idiot. I'm going to keep my job since I currently find it fulfilling, challenging, and enjoyable. But, I will admit that this little conversation made me feel like a pretty great baker. I think it's okay to admit that.

Here's how it goes...

(Step 1) In a big bowl combine the flour, wheat bran, yeast and sugar.

(Step 2) Get your water to be just the slightest bit warm. You need the warm to activate the yeast ... but if it's too hot... you kill the yeast. Dead yeast means dead dough which means dead bread.

(Step 3) Add the water to the flour mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula. The dough should look "wet". I drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top just for added moisture... and perhaps effect.

(Step 4) Cover your bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for as long as you can handle it. I try to aim for 12 -18 hrs.

(Step 5) After the rise, generously dump some flour on a surface and pour out the dough. Sprinkle some more flour on the dough and gently kneed into a dough ball baby. You'll need more flour than normal because the dough is so wet.

(Step 6) After your dough is in a perfect little ball, cover and let rest for about 30-45 minutes.

(Step 7) While your dough is resting, preheat the oven to 425 F and put your dutch oven in to heat it up. Once the dough has resting and the oven is hot, place the dough in the pot on a piece of parchment paper.

(Step 8) Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and then pull the lid for the last 15-20 minutes. Your bread is done when the surface is golden brown and crusty (in a good way)
Shopping List
3 cups of flour (substitute 1 cup for 1 cup of wheat bran if desired)
1 5/8 cups of warm water
2 T sugar
1/2 t yeast

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