Since I spend most of my time in the tropics and don't want to heat up the interior down below, I find the use of a pressure cooker atop the stove is faster, less heat generated and less fuel consumed.
The bread is NOT cooked under pressure, of course. You first remove the rubber sealing gasket. And I always use a "flame tamer" beneath the cooker to spread the heat more evenly and prevent hot spots.
Here are the ingredients for a simple and delicious, can't-fail white bread:
2 cups all-purpose white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal (to coat the cooker)
1 tablespoon honey or sugar (to feed the yeast)
1 tablespoon dry yeast (1 packet of Fleischman's activated yeast)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm fresh water (of if fresh water scarce, 1/2 fresh and 1/2 salt water)
2 teaspoons salt (not required if you're using salt water)
Mix the yeast, water, sugar and salt together and let stand without stirring. Allow 5 minutes for the yeast to dissolve and be activated by the water. Next, stir in the flour and put the mixture in a warm place and allow to rise for about one and one-half hours until it doubles in bulk. Then, punch down with your fist, give it a light knead, and allow to rise a second time until once again doubled in bulk.
While the dough is rising, grease the pressure cooker insides with butter or lard, and sprinkle with a coat of corn meal to keep bread from sticking to sides of cooker. Punch the dough down for the third time, roll it into a ball and drop it into the cooker. Put top on cooker, turn on heat to a low-medium heat for about 45 minutes. And that's it! (If you are out of yeast, or your yeast has "died" on you due to heat and storage, there's a great recipe for Irish Soda Bread in my cookbook, Gourmet Underway - A Sailor's Cookbook that doesn't need yeast at all. See website: www.gourmetunderway.com
Just recently I have experimented making bread at home. On the internet I've found all sorts of recipies. After 7 tries I've decided that I'm a sailor not a baker. (Although Hollywood, our Dashound, seems to love my experiments.)
On KILLICK, our Cal34, there is nothing better than the smell of bread cooking in the oven followed by the taste of warm bread, a little cheese, and a glass of wine.
My simplest way is to go to the dairy dept in the grocry store. Find where they keep the cressant and breakfast rolls...you know those cardboard containers with the metal ends and buy the french bread there.
Now you get: the smell, the taste with no work.
There is a book called Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day that has a really easy, no knead dough recipe that can be converted into many different types of bread, including a white bread. I've been using it and it really works. The basic recipe makes 4 lb loaves. You have to store it in the refrig or icebox. It can be stored up to 1 month. I'm posting the basic Boule dough recipe on my blog but I suggest you get the book for the multitude of recipes it has which also includes dessert breads.
there is a cook book called k.i.s.s.......has the easiest recipe for bread i have ever seen--no fancy stuff--just goood bread and very easy......keep it simple sweetheart...i found the book in a marine chandlery, is excellent....
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don't worry... I'm not American....I'm Italian :-)
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