How to Make Mood Bread

Mood Bread

It is not hard to make bread and there are many ways to do it. Yeast grows and divides because it is alive. It gives off bubbles of air (CO2) and that’s what leavens the bread. Yeast organisms double in number about every twenty minutes.

I use a long-rise technique that makes earthy, yeasty bread that smells great. It always is good but my batches vary in texture because of different quantities and timing, so I call it Mood Bread. Often, I start it in the morning, leave it alone most of the day, and then finish it at night. Sometimes I finish it the next day. The longer the rising time, the more crusty and crunchy the bread will be. A short rising time will be good in a different way, especially for making soft little rolls.

I buy Fleishman’s dry bread machine yeast which comes as a powder in a four-ounce jar here in the USA. I keep the jar in the refrigerator where it remains usable for a year or so.

To make bread, you will need a large bowl, unbleached flour, yeast, olive oil or butter, sugar or honey, warm water, and salt.

Get out a large bowl (8 or 9 inches across) and put about three cups of flour in it. You can use a teacup if you don’t normally measure in USA standard measuring cups. Stir in about a tablespoon of dry yeast and the same amount of sugar or honey. Use more yeast and sugar for faster bread. Do not add salt at this stage.

Stir the dry ingredients together and then stir in enough lukewarm water to make a sticky dough, maybe a cup and a half. The water should be about the same temperature as warm milk for a baby’s bottle, 90 to 100 degrees F. Stir it thoroughly with a fork, put a cover over it, and leave it alone for two to four hours. It should rise and become a mass of bubbles.

When you get back to the bowl of bread dough, stir in one or two more cups of flour, enough to make a firm dough. Knead or mix it a bit, then cover it and leave it alone. Try to moisten all the flour.

When the dough rises to double its size, throw in a little more flour, one to two spoons of salt, and a few spoons of olive oil or melted butter. Then knead it all together with a lot of folding. Make it smooth. If it is too sticky add more flour. Grease and flour the cooking pan. I use either a flat cookie tin or a big cast iron skillet. Often, I knead it right in the skillet and bake it in the same one. Shape the dough into whatever loaves or rolls you want. Artists, you can put flowers or decorations made of bread dough on top and they will bake up beautifully.

Let the loaves rise to at least double their size, uncovered. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F (medium heat). Score the loaves with shallow cuts from a serrated knife. Drip some olive oil or butter over the top.

Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves. They should be browned but not burned.

Take out the loaves and let them cool, in their pans, for ten minutes. Then remove them from the pans and let them cool a bit more before serving (if you can wait).
Experience helps.

Try making a batch of bread and let me know how it goes! Then make it again. Bon appetit!

© 2008 by Betty Mackey

How to Make Mood Bread

Betty Mackey

Wayne, United States

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Practical directions for making great homemade bread without a recipe.

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