Although I will not be baking bread anytime soon (why would I when the mercado has such gorgeous selections of fresh-from-the-oven pans), I recognize that some people are stuck in the frozen wasteland better known as “most of the US in the winter.” I can’t tell you how alternatively disappointed and relieved I am to have missed Nemo. My thought process goes something like this:
Hot chocolate! Slush. Snow angels! New York sidewalks. Central Park! Wet socks. Massive snow wars! Faulty radiator. Pretty pictures! Empty grocery stores. Buttered rum! No snow days at my hospital. Ever.
So while the Northeast is digging out, I’m busy working on my gorgeous and completely awkward runner’s tan. However, Sister of Mine recently asked for an easy bread recipe to go with her pot roast. During that phone call, I told her to buy a loaf, but she really wanted to make it herself. I think I talked her into the supermarket route that night, since it was already pushing midnight, but for next time, here’s an easy-peasy and relatively fast yeast loaf.
Notes: This bread fairly quick for a yeast bread and turns out a moist, fine grained, and somewhat dense loaf which is perfect for accompanying a savory main dish. It’s best eaten fresh, but fares pretty well with a turn in a toaster or microwave followed by a schmear of butter and your favorite jam. If you’re going to keep it overnight, wrap well in plastic wrap or store in a Tupperware.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Place the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow the yeast to dissolve for about five minutes. Add the oil, sugar, salt, and two cups of the flour to the yeast and water, and stir well to combine. (You can stir by hand or use an electric mixer for one to two minutes.) Add the last cup of flour and stir until smooth. The dough will be very sticky.
Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 1/2 hour (the dough should double in size.) Preheat the oven to 375F. Stir the dough down a few times, until the dough is smooth again, the spread the dough evenly in a greased loaf pan.
Bake the bread for 45 minutes at 375F, until the loaf is lightly golden on top and the crust is firm when tapped with a finger. Allow to set for 15 minutes, then slice and enjoy warm.