Freakishly Excited About Bread

Just 5 days into the Budget Kitchen Challenge, I've already encountered a problem. The $1.99 loaf of bread I purchased was discovered to be all moldy this morning! I'm sure you can tell by this point, I don't buy a lot of that processed bread...maybe I did something wrong to it? Anyways...instead of risking my budget on another loaf of questionable bread, I spent $.20 on a 3 packets of yeast and set out to make my own bread. I've always wanted to learn to do it, and hey, there's no time like the present! The only thing I purchased for this recipe was yeast, everything else was already in my cabinets!

This recipe is for a rustic and homey Italian bread, which I literally can't get enough of. I grew up eating fresh Italian bread with warm butter every Sunday night right next to my dad's spaghetti sauce. I got so enthralled with YouTube baking videos while I was waiting for the dough to rise, I've found about 10 different ways to "capture wild yeast", and I pinned probably 50 bread recipes. I have to admit the whole thing was incredibly fun and satisfying. The only changes I would make...I didn't let the dough rise quite long enough the first time around, and I would knead the dough a little longer. The end result was really good, but just a tiny bit too dense for my tastes. I think those two changes will help that considerably.


1 Cup Warm Water (103-108 degrees)
3 Cups AP Flour
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1 Cup warm water with the yeast and let it stand about 5 minuets (until frothy).

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the Flour, Sugar, and Salt. Once the yeast has bloomed, give it a quick mix, and add it to the dry mixture. Mix with your hands, then sprinkle a handfull of flour onto your counter and transfer the dough. Knead the dough until it forms a smooth, and firm ball.

4. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise. This can take up to an hour depending on the environmental conditions in your kitchen.

TIP: Put the bowl near your oven, so that the yeast can use the warmth and cause the mix to rise. A warm, damp towel, also helps to create the perfect environment for the dough.

5. The dough should double in size. Pat the dough down, form it into a ball, and knead one more time. Replace the dough to the bowl, cover once more, and let rise a second time.

6. Remove the dough, shape it into a loaf form, and place it on a baking sheet.

7. Brush the dough with a generous amount of olive oil (this gets it nice and crispy).

8. Score the bread at an angle with a sharp knife.

9. Bake for about 30 minuets (or until the bread is golden brown and makes a hollow noise when tapped).

I like to eat it right out of the oven. When its still hot and moist with a teaspoon or so of fresh butter.

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