Don't believe me? Check out how ridiculously full of flour my freezer and cupboards are.
It's the challenge, of course, that fixates me. I get that. Baking bread is an art form and it truly does take time to master the craft. I'm the type that jumps into a challenge with both feet. And then once I master it, I typically get bored and move on. Bear with me until I get bored, OK?
This particular recipe interested me for several reasons. It's very easy and quick to make, taking less than an hour and a half from start to finish. Also, the reviews touted its great toasting characteristics as well as how wonderfully it worked as a panini bread. (ummm... yeah, I know... yet another obsession of mine.)
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F
Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than, say, 1/4" over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
NOTES: The next time I make this I will replace some of the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.