Although I write study software for firefighters for a living, I'm also a big fan of cooking, and actually have written three cookbooks (self-published), one of which we sell on our website. I'm not out for the money, I just like cooking, and sharing my recipes.
You mentioned in your post about breads. Breads are one of the easiest things to make. It takes less time to prepare bread then it does to get in your car and go buy a loaf. We make bread every other day. It is terrific and its dirt-cheap to make.
Here is a real easy basic white bread recipe. It is a no-knead recipe and it only takes a few minutes to prepare, although you need to prepare it several hours before you bake it. You are actually working on preparation for only about 3 or 4 minutes. It is a nice crispy crust artisan-style ciabatta bread.
Here is how you make it.
1 Cup Luke warm water. 100 degrees F.
1 1/2 Tsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp. Brown sugar - Make it a heaping Tbsp.
2 to 2 1/4 Cups Flour. I use King Arthur unbleached flour.
Cornmeal for the baking pan.
Egg wash: Do this just before baking.
1 Egg white only.
1 Tbsp. Water
Beat with a fork until it is really foamy.
In a stainless steel mixing bowl add the water, yeast, and brown sugar and stir. Allow it to stand for a few minutes to activate the yeast.
Next add the flour. I pack the flour tightly into the measuring cup, so that it is dense. Lastly, add the salt. Mix it all together.
At first it is going to appear as if it is very dry, but hang in there and keep mixing. You can use your hands if that is easier for you. You should end up with a slightly sticky dough. Once you have thoroughly mixed the dough, your done, at least for now. Soak a paper towel with water, ring out the excess and cover your bowl. Cover the paper towel with a damp dish towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm area for at least 6 hours. You don't have to knead this dough. Just let nature take its course.
The next step takes only about a minute. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add a little corn meal over the surface, and remove your dough and shape it into a loaf of your choosing. It will be rather sticky, but with a little maneuvering you can get a decent loaf shape from it. Allow the loaf to rise for another 1 to 2 hours or until its almost doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Take a really sharp knife and score a slit down the center of the top. Apply your egg wash to the surface of the loaf GENTLY. You don't want to deflate the loaf.
Place it on the center rack of the oven for 10 minutes, then rotate the loaf and bake for another 10 minutes or until the loaf is a nice golden brown on the top. Total cooking time 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a cooling rack. Give it a try. It makes great toast and has great flavor.
Knightlite Software and want to be chef.
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