Simple Bread
by Marcia Passos-Duffy

In our busy household I like foods I can make that taste fresh, but are simple
to make.  You may not think that bread falls under the category of 'simple',
then again, you have not made this bread.

Even if you are a bread-making novice, you can make these loaves of
delicious crusty-on-the-outside bread with little effort (ie., little kneading and
dough rising time).  Believe it or not, this bread takes only 1 hour and 15
minutes to make, start to finish.  And it is a perfect complement to winter
soups and stews.


5-6 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2
2 tablespoons of dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F.)

A cake pan of hot water

Mix 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt.  Pour in the hot water
and beat 100 strokes (or 3 minutes with a mixer).  

Stir in the remaining flour until the dough loses its stickiness.  Turn onto a
floured surface. Knead for 8 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth.  Let rise
for 15 minutes in a warm spot (away from drafts).

Punch down and divide the dough into two pieces.  Shape into round loaves
and place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut an "X" one-half inch deep in each of
the loaves with a wet sharp knife.

Place baking sheet with loaves in the middle of a COLD oven.   Place a pan of
hot water on the lowest shelf.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake 40-50
minutes until golden brown.

About the author: Marcia Passos-Duffy is the publisher of The Heart of New
England online magazine.  
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