One of life’s great joys, as far as I’m concerned, is fresh-baked bread — preferably warm from the oven with a nice slather of butter. Sadly, though, fresh-baked bread can be hard to pull off without much notice. While I do love beer bread (which can be ready in just over an hour), it’s just not quite the same as a warm loaf of traditional yeast bread. But, so many yeast breads require multiple rises, or lengthy kneading, so this busy mama simply can’t work with that on her current schedule (or lack thereof).
Enter my new favorite bread recipe: King Arthur Flour’s Hearth Bread.* It’s super-easy, basically foolproof, requires only one rise and bakes in well less than an hour. Plus, I’ve adapted it so that my Kitchen Aid can do the kneading, so it requires no floured countertops or messy hands. Easy peasy. And since we’ve been thawing lots of soups from our freezer stash to enjoy in the cold weather, a nice loaf of freshly baked bread is always a welcome accompaniment.
*I let Nora, my kitchen helper extraordinaire lately, shape one of the loaves. Can you tell which one?
The recipe makes two loaves, so I always freeze one for later. That’s always a nice surprise for a rainy day!
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 cups warm water (less than 110°)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour*
- 2½ - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- olive oil for greasing
- cornmeal for dusting
- Mix the yeast, sugar, salt and warm water together, and let stand until the salt and sugar are dissolved and the yeast begins to bloom.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the flour cup by cup (beginning with the whole wheat) until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all the flour is incorporated.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
- Let the dough rest while you grease a large bowl generously with olive oil, then knead for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Shape the dough roughly into a ball and transfer it to the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Punch the dough down and knead briefly by hand to press out any bubbles. Separate the dough into two roughly equal parts and shape into loaves.
- Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and place the loaves on the sheet. Slash each 3 times with a sharp knife. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!