Intro: No Stress, No Mess Bread
I really like homemade bread, but I HATE cleaning all that flour off the counter from kneading it. You use a sponge to clean it, but the flour just turns into a wet sticky mess and you ruin the sponge. If it dries on the counter it's practically impossible to get off. You get dough stuck in your ring and under your fingernails. etc. etc. It drives me nuts!
This is a super easy Italian Style Bread you can make with a Stand Mixer and a dough hook. No kneading, no mess. Yay!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
Super simple: 4 ingredients!
6 1/2 C Flour
3 C Hot Water (not boiling, just hot tap water. Not so hot it burns you though, because that will kill the yeast)
You also need a stand mixer with a dough hook, and a baking sheet.
Step 2: Make the Dough
Pour the water into the bowl and add the yeast. Stir gently. Let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast will bubble up a bit.
Put in the salt and stir. Then add the flour. Stir with the dough hook, about medium speed. Lock the neck of the mixer down, or it will jump. Just let it do it's thing. All of the flour will get incorporated, and the bowl will be clean. If not, add a dash more water. If it seems way to soft, won't form a ball, add a bit more flour.
This is where you can add some extra ingredients if you want. I enjoy a bit of garlic powder, (2tsp.) and some Italian Seasoning (about 1-2 tsp. ) You could also add some grated hard cheese. Take it a different way and add a little cinnamon and sugar. Feel free to be creative.
Lift up the dough hook, scrape off the dough. Take the bowl out, cover it with saran wrap, and let it rise for about 30 minutes. It should double in size.
NOTE: I use quick rise, or instant, or active dry yeast. It works well, and quickly. If you use regular yeast, it will take longer to rise. Just wait for the dough to fill up the bowl, then it will be done.
Step 3: Bake It
Take the Saran wrap off. Put a little bit of flour on your hands. Take the Dough out, and shape into 3 or 4 loaves. Make any shape you want: Round, Oval, Long and Skinny, etc.
Put each loaf on the same greased cookie sheet. (Spray the pan with a little non stick spray)
Bake in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Mangia !
Take the bread out of the oven. The crust will be nice and brown. You can knock on the crust, and it's hard. Let cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes. Then enjoy! The bread stays fresh for a day or two until it's cut. Once cut, it gets stale very fast.
You can freeze any cooked loaves and enjoy them later.
This bread goes great with Lasagna, Pasta with Red Sauce, Soup, or even PB&J.
If it gets stale, it makes great bread pudding. It also makes great French toast.