Posts tagged ‘wordpress’


Basic Bread

I love baking, especially bread baking. I’m sure I’ve told the story before about how we came early to a friend’s party back in college to help with preparations, and she handed my a 3×5 card and said “Okay, you can make the bread”. I’d never made bread before, so that was rather terrifying, but the bread came out delicious. It did have some dense bands because the baker was clueless, but as it was a rich sweet bread the bands were good.

The recipe for that exact bread is a secret, but I’ve posted (long ago) a recipe that eventually evolved away from it far enough that I felt okay posting: Our Golden Bread. It’s a sweet buttery bread, and amazing both for dessert and for sandwiches. I’ve also made various cheesy breads and eggy breads and things over time.

The other month, for some reason, I decided to write down an extremely basic bread recipe (I think there was some reason, but I’m not sure what it was; maybe it was in the uncertain beginning of the pandemic, and I was figuring out the fewest ingredients we’d need to make our own bread if we had to).

It’s not the simplest possible bread recipe (it has more sweetening and oil than it strictly-speaking needs just to be bread), but it is simple. This is it:

Sun shining on a slice of breadBasic Wheat Bread

2 cups warm water
2 tsp or 1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vegetable oil
5-6 cups wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt

Sugar can be reduced to like a teaspoon if you really want to, and vegetable oil can conceivably be left out entirely. Up to half (or all, if you’re bold) of the flour can be Whole Wheat. The flour can be “all purpose” or “bread flour”, and you might or might not notice the difference. Salt is optional, but it’ll be a bit bland with none.

Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and let it sit for awhile if you feel like it, so the yeast can start doing its thing. Add the vegetable oil and enough flour (two cups or so) that the mixture is like thickish mud. Add the salt last (because it discourages the yeast to some extent).

Give this “sponge” (the muddy mixture) about 100 strokes with a wooden spoon (hey, I like wooden spoons), to incorporate a good amount of air into it (whatever that means, really), and then cover with a warm damp cloth and let rise at least 45 minutes somewhere warm and not windy; inside your oven (when the oven is not on) is good for instance.

Take it out and add more flour until it feels like dough; not quite sticky but not dry. Knead it (probably with floured hands on a slightly floured board) until it feels right; ideally sort of silken and alive. Put it back into the bowl (generally using a touch of oil or butter or cooking spray on both the inside of the bowl where the dough will be sitting, and on the top of the dough itself, for some reason), cover the bowl with a warm freshly-damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm and windless place for another at least 45 minutes.

Punch it down and form it into either one or two loaves (one will be quite large, two will be more normal), and put the loaf or loaves into the corresponding number of lightly oiled or cooking-sprayed or buttered bread pans. Let the loaf or loaves rest in the pan or pans while the oven pre-heats to 350 degrees F.

Put the pan or pans into the oven, on the middle rack I suppose, for 40 or 60 minutes, until it seems done, the bottom thumps nicely, and so on.

Remove from pan or pans and let cool on a cooling rack or whatever until you feel like cutting it open.

And that’s the recipe! You can play with pretty much anything from there; substitute an egg or milk for some of the water, fold in some cool butter instead of the oil, substitute honey for some or all of the sugar, add things like cheese and raisins and vanilla extract and so on.

I was going to include the bagel recipe in this post also, but I think that’ll be tomorrow.

(Partly because just getting WordPress to slightly indent the recipe (and then use a very slightly smaller interline spacing while I was in there) was such a ridiculously large amount of work; I had to convert the paragraphs to “Classic”, and then hand-enter a bit of CSS style separately into every paragraph element in the Code Editor. The new shiny “Blocks” style couldn’t deal with it at all, and kept telling me that I had Invalid Things. How does someone make an editor that has neither “indent paragraph” nor “search and replace” in 2020?)

So that is Basic Bread, and tomorrow-or-soon, I will put up Basic Bagels.



So we are going to experiment with a WordPress-type weblog for at least a bit, to see if in fact we post more often and/or get other benefits which more than offset whatever costs (costs?) or disadvantages or downsides (downsides!) there turn out to be.

The original weblog will of course remain there in all of its glory until the heat death of the universe, or other similar event. (If this WordPress thing doesn’t work out, I might go back over there and weblogify over there again; or I might do something else; who knows!)

I will fiddle around with the (what’s the word?) template or whatever here until I like it enough, and then I will put up a post to the original weblog, pointing to this place here.

And then we will see!