By: Justin and Kayla Butts Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Bread is simple. Profoundly simple. Like, mind-blowingly, best-invention-ever simple. Bread may be the simplest thing you can make in your kitchen that is also the best thing you can make in your kitchen. With all the extra time we’ve been spending at home since COVID-19 struck our world, we’ve been revisiting some of our favorite Farm to Table recipes created for The Bend Magazine over the last six years.
These three recipes for various styles of bread are some of those favorites! We’ve seen so many people post on social media their attempts at homemade bread over the last three or four weeks and it has inspired us to get our hands a little dirty and join in on the fun.
Bread is this simple: mix together flour, water, salt, and yeast. Let it sit for a while. Bake it. When it is cool enough, eat it—preferably all of it, immediately.
If we could humbly suggest our best advice to instantly improve your life: first, start a garden. Grow some of your own vegetables and throw some pretty flowers in there, too. Second, bake your own fresh bread, daily. And, if you only do one, definitely bake the bread.
The best things in life really are the simplest—as simple as homemade bread.
Below are three fool-proof recipes! These three recipes are bulletproof. One is a crusty white, one a honey wheat, and one a cornbread. The best part? You probably have most of these ingredients already in your kitchen!
Crusty White Bread
Prep time: 7 minutes
Inactive prep time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
1 cup bread flour, plus 3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
Combine 1 cup bread flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Let mixture set for 10 minutes until a foamy sponge is formed. Add in remaining ingredients and knead for 2-3 minutes, until ingredients form a dough. Place dough in a large, greased bowl covered with a tea towel or cling wrap. Let rise for two hours. (Optional: For a more flavorful bread, store dough in the refrigerator for up to one week. Once you’re ready to prepare the bread, remove it from the fridge, let dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, and continue with the following steps).
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet at the bottom of the oven. Carefully transfer dough to a baking sheet and shape into a batard (baton shape). Lightly dust with flour and score with 3 slashes about ¼” deep. Pour a cup of water into the rimmed baking sheet and close oven quickly to trap steam. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until hollow when thumped.
Honey Wheat Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Inactive prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 40 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp honey
1 ½ tsp salt
1 1/3 cup water
Optional: 1 tbsp wheat germ
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead the dough with your hands or in a standing mixer for 5 minutes, until a smooth dough is formed. Return dough to the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling wrap. Let rise for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and place in a greased loaf pan. Let dough proof an additional 1 hour. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with wheat germ.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
½ cup honey
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Heat butter in a 10” cast iron skillet over low heat. Once melted, set butter aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together until well-combined. In a separate bowl, mix honey, eggs, milk, and butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour batter into skillet and level with a spatula.
Cook for about 35 minutes, or until cornbread is golden and set in the middle.