We are all learning how to cope with our current situation differently. Some have finished Netflix. Others have taken on new hobbies. Puzzles, painting and LOTS of DJs….like a lot! But mostly, you find yourself having to cook 3 meals a day because leaving the house to shop and get take out and coming back disease free is a crap shoot…

My sanity is maintained by keeping myself busy with cooking. Specially baking. Baking is that thing you always want to do but JUST lazy enough to avoid. Also, there are a lot of shit recipes out there and who wants to go through the trouble of finding the best ones? That’s where I come in. I have put together some easy recipes that have been thoroughly researched and QAd by yours truly! I’ve also taken out the 3 pages of BS comments, stories and click bait!

On this particular post, we’ll concentrate on mostly breads like bagels, focaccia, and basic loaves of all kinds. I’ll try to post one every few days with different types of recipes. Hope it helps you keep busy and stay sane in the time of Covid-19. Stay safe Ya’ll!

NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL


Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups / 300ml warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup /60ml more, I know I did)
  • 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.

Preparation:

1. In ½ cup /120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

3. Pour 1/3 cup / 90ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60ml of water. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.

4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.

5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I used a scale to be extra precise, but it’s not necessary). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms (as pictured below). Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.

7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.

8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7.

9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).

10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” (listed above) to top the bagels and if you’re risky like me, make a combination of the toppings to top the bagels with, but before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven.

11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.

12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

13. Cool on a wire rack

Easy Rosemary Garlic Focaccia Bread

PREP 1hr 40mins COOK 20mins TOTAL 2hr

Makes approximately 15 servings

Ingreadients:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (235 ml) warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

MAKE DOUGH

1- In a cold medium skillet, combine olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and the black pepper. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.

2- In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Stir a few times then let sit for 5 minutes.

3- Add 1 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of the infused garlic-olive oil mixture to the bowl with yeast and honey. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let sit for another 5 minutes.

4- Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. When the dough comes together, transfer to a floured board and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth.

5- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 1 hour.

BAKE BREAD

– After 1 hour, heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Use two tablespoons of the remaining garlic-olive oil mixture to oil a 9-inch by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet.

– Transfer the dough to the baking sheet then press it down into the pan. Use your fingers to dimple the dough then drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the garlic-olive oil mixture. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes until it puffs slightly.

– Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool baked focaccia bread on a wire rack.

Easy dutch oven bread – no overnight rise needed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (9g) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) sugar (use honey if you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (300g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (360g) plus extra for dusting  (see recipe notes)

Instructions:

MIX THE DOUGH & FIRST RISE (1 HOUR):

-Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

-Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.

-Add kosher salt and flour to bowl. Mix with your hands or a sturdy spatula, or mix on low speed with your stand mixer until all flour is incorporated and dough has just started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. For best results, mix until no dry bits of flour remain. Please note: This is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it may seem a bit shaggy and sticky at this point.

-Lightly flour all sides of your dough (don’t mix the flour in – it’s just to keep the dough from sticking!) and turn it over inside the mixing bowl to coat with flour on all sides. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise on the counter for about 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.

SHAPE THE DOUGH & FINAL RISE (30 MIN):

-When dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board.

-Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the cutting board. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you want to keep all those nice air bubbles intact so you have an airy, delicious loaf of bread. (Note: If the dough is sticking to the bowl a little bit, wet your hand with a bit of cold water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out).

-Sprinkle a bit of flour across the top of the dough, then begin shaping it into a round loaf. Pull each corner of the dough in towards the center (like you’re folding an envelope) and repeat until the dough feels tight and begins to resist your folds. Flip the dough over and tap it into a round loaf.

-Flour a proofing basket or a medium bowl and place your loaf into it seam-side down. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so while you preheat the oven.

HEAT THE OVEN :

-While bread is rising, place an empty dutch oven (with the lid on) in your oven and heat to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

BAKE!

-When the oven is hot, you’re ready to go! Use oven mitts to pull the dutch oven out and remove the lid.’

-Lay  piece of parchment paper down on your counter or cutting board (optional – it makes transferring the bread easier!)

-Tip your bread dough gently out of the proofing basket onto the parchment paper. Make sure the seam side is up this time – this is what will create those beautiful cracks on top of the bread!

-VERY CAREFULLY (without burning yourself like I did!) use the sides of the parchment to lift the bread up and place it into the hot Dutch oven.

-Put your oven mitts back on, place the dutch oven lid back on the pot, and slide the whole thing back into your hot oven.

-Cook bread for 30 minutes.

-After 30 minutes, remove the lid from your dutch oven. The bread should be taller, crusty, and very lightly browned. Continue cooking the bread, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes more until the bread has deepened in color and you have a beautiful brown crust.

-When bread is done, use oven mitts to pull the pot out of your oven.

-Use a long spatula or the corners of your parchment paper to lift the bread out of the dutch oven and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.

Notes

How to measure flour: If you have a kitchen scale, please use it! Measuring by weight is MUCH more accurate than measuring by volume (with cups) and will give you more consistent bread. That being said, you can certainly make great bread without a kitchen scale! To measure flour in cups: If you measure flour by dipping your cup straight into the bag or bin and shaking off the excess, plan to use about 2 1/2 cups of flour. If you measure by stirring the flour with a spoon or scoop before scooping it into a measuring cup and leveling it off, plan to use about 3 cups of flour. You can always add more flour if you need to – just be aware that this is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it will be a bit shaggy and sticky at first (but it will smooth out and become more elastic as it rises and again as you shape it!)

If you prefer a thicker, denser dough, or if you’re nervous about shaping a wetter dough, use only one cup (235g) of water. The crumb will be a bit more dense and less airy, but it will still taste great!

*Equipment. I recommend a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven for best results.

NO KNEAD, crusty, bakery-style, aromatic and yeasty whole wheat bread.

Servings: 8 people

YOU CAN TOTALLY JUST USE ALL PURPOSE IF YOU DON’T HAVE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 floz/282ml) water

Instructions

1- Make the dough: In a large bowl whisk the flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt.

2 – In a separate bowl, combine the honey and water. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until you         form a ball of dough and it cleans the bowl (see video above). If your dough seems very dry, add more water (do this 1 tablespoon at a time) until desired consistency is achieved.

3- Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 18-24 hours at room temperature (about 70 degrees). Your dough is ready when it has puffed up in volume, about double in size.

4-    Once the dough has proofed knock the air out with your hands.

5- Shape the dough by transferring onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in half and then fold it in half again. Shape the dough into a ball by tucking the sides underneath itself.

6- Place the dough on a lined baking tray seam side down. Cover with cling wrap and a kitchen towel and proof for roughly 45 minutes -1 1/2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is. You will want it to have doubled in size.

7- Once the dough has risen a second time, score the top with a blade or sharp knife. Bake it off at 400 F (200 C) for roughly 50-60 minutes

8 – Once the bread has formed a crisp golden crust you can transfer it to a wire rack and allow to cool completely to            room temperature before slicing. Another tip to tell if it is fully bake is if you tip the base of the bread and it makes a hollow sound.

9- Cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. This bread also freezes really well.

Baking tips:

When I bake bread I like to cover the dough with a large oven-safe bowl for the first 30 minutes. This will lock in the moisture around the bread and steam the inside. After 30 minutes remove the bowl or cover and continue to bake for another 30 minutes until golden brown all over. If you have an oven safe bowl I strongly suggest you try this method.  OR Just put that bitch in a Dutch oven😊

Challah Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

Directions

1- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

2- Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.

3- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4- Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.

5- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.