Late Night Bread Baking
On Sunday afternoon, I decided I'd love a loaf of homemade bread. Only this time, I didn't want to use the bread machine. I'm not a baker type, although I've ventured into it slowly with the scones and dabbled in baking brownies from scratch (just stick to the box, Paige), and I decided to experiment. In the early afternoon, I filled a measuring cup with just over one cup of warm water and added 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, 2 tsp of sugar, and 2 tsp of white flour. I mixed it all with a whisk and let it sit until the evening. Around 9pm, I decided it was time to bake bread, so I found a recipe online, and made my own tweaks, since I didn't want to stay up past 11pm waiting for the dough to rise and bake. Here was the gist.
3 cups bread flour
3 tbs sugar (it was less than 1/4 cup but might have been more than 3 tbs. Just sweeten it to your personal preference.)
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup of my yeasty water
I mixed all the dry ingredients before adding the wet and then mixed it all with a giant fork. When the dough was still to sticky, I added more flour one tablespoon at a time until it wasn't sticky to the touch, but wasn't dry either. I then let it rise for about 40 minutes in a warmed oven with the door open and a damp towel on top. I kneaded and then transferred the dough to a loaf pan sprayed with Baker's Joy and once again let it rise in a warm oven with the door open. Once the dough was about an inch below the top of the pan, I took out the pan, heated the oven to 350 F and baked the bread for 40 min.
The bread rose nicely while baking and had very few large bubbles. It had just a hint of sweetness and great texture. It wasn't too fluffy or too dense.