The one thing I’ve had multiple issues with is bread. For something that only requires a few ingredients, it is surprisingly tricky to get right. I’ve tried dozens of recipes – most involve proofing the dough several times, kneading the hell out of it before and after, and the result is never the same.
So I rejoiced when I found a recipe that worked each time, and only took an hour and a half to make. I modified this slightly by adding olives for flavor (and because my husband requested it), and instead of buns, I made loaves.
- 4 cups of plain flour
- 1 tablespoon quick rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup of pitted, sliced olives
- Mix 3 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the stand mixer, put it on low (on a Kitchen-Aid, I turn it to 2).
- Pour in the water and oil, and continue to mix it on low.
- Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides.
- When the dough comes together, add the remaining one cup of flour in, one tablespoon at a time. Mix on low.
- You may not need to use the entire cup of flour, it depends on how wet or dry your dough is. Put in enough that the dough scrapes clean from the sides of the bowl.
- Continue to mix on low for 5 minutes.
- Once the dough has come together, leave it covered in the bowl for a few minutes.
- In the meantime, grease a baking sheet.
- Flour your countertop, and tip the dough out onto it. The dough will probably be slightly sticky, so flour your hands.
- Add in the olives. Scatter a few olives on top of the dough, then fold them in. Repeat the process until all olives are added.
- Divide your dough into 4 equal parts.
- Shape them however you like - I made them rectangular.
- Place them a couple of inches apart on the greased baking sheet.
- Cover the dough and leave to proof for 45 minutes or until they double in size.
- Once they're ready to be baked, preheat your oven to 375F.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown.
- When the bread is ready, remove from the oven, and let cool on a rack.
- 19. Eat it warm! But don't slice it until it's cool.
- You can leave out the olives and make them as plain bread.
- You can also make buns rather than loaves, by dividing the dough into 12 parts, and rolling them into balls.
ABOUT ALISON: Alison Lee is the co-editor of the upcoming anthology, Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets or More. In another life, Alison was a PR and marketing professional. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies and of the world’s biggest sports brands, she traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is the Submissions Editor at BonBon Break. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins). Follow her onTwitter, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram and LinkedIn.