My mom always made her own bread for as long as I can remember. She made the best bread ever. I wish her recipe was written down, but unfortunately she always baked from memory.
I love the recipe I use for Ukrainian Traditional Easter Bread (Paska).
I also tried making bread in a bread machine, but it was a disaster (the birds in my back yard benefited from a nice bread snack instead, since I never throw away bread into trash).
This time I tried the Dutch Oven recipe (please click here for excellent step-by-step pictures and instructions).
At first I was kind of skeptical, since it does not require any kneading, only 18+ hours of rising on its own without any effort on my part, then it is baked for an hour in a covered Dutch Oven cast iron pot.
I was determined to try it out, and was pleasantly surprised by the look and taste of the baked bread.
Nothing tastes better than a slice of fresh-baked bread, smeared lightly with soft unsulted butter….aaahhh….so delicious.
My family, and even my toddler grandchildren, absolutely loved it.
As you can see, the bread was a success.
I did brush off most of the excess flour you see all over the top of this bread, then while the bread was still hot, I rubbed a cold butter stick all over the crust (brushed some olive oil into the crevices), for a more luscious appearance, and to soften the crust (a tip from my mom).
If you prefer a very crusty bread top, you may omit this process.
The recipe is very simple, as it only needs bread flour, dry yeast, salt and water. I did not have bread flour at home, so I used 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour and 2 cups of wheat flour, and it turned out great.
Since this time I did not make any changes to the original recipe, please go to the original site for a specific list of ingredients and instructions.
I would like to mention that I kept the covered dough in my oven (room temperature….not warmed at all), with the door closed, for about 16 hours rather than 18 hours, as it looked ready at that time.
I did use cooking spray with flour, to spray the bottom of the hot pot, before placing the dough in it for baking.
Also, I baked the bread for 45 minutes, covered, then again for 15 minutes uncovered. I did use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread to be 200 degrees F, as she suggested. I checked it after 10 minutes of baking it uncovered, and it was only 185 degrees, so I decided to bake it for another 5 minutes.
Here is my bread baking time frame:
- 9 PM Friday – I mixed the dough, covered it and left it to rise
- 1:15 PM Saturday – the dough was ready to be formed into a ball, wrapped in a cotton kitchen towel, and rest for 2 hrs.
- 2:45 PM Saturday – Preheated the oven and placed the Dutch oven in there to heat it up
- 3:15 PM Saturday – Placed the ball of dough into the hot Dutch Oven and started baking process
- 3:15 – 4 PM Saturday – baked the bread in a covered Dutch Oven
- 4 – 4:15 PM Saturday – uncovered the pot and baked the bread until its center reached 200 degrees F
- By 5 PM Saturday, the bread was cool enough to slice and sample.
I honestly recommend this recipe, as I know you will be so proud of yourself making a homemade bread that is almost effortless, yet sooooo tasty.
Not to mention the low cost of this loaf of bread!!
Here is a quote of the cost calculation, as posted on the original site:
81 cents for a substantial 2.5 pound loaf of bread