The best part about this recipe is that when you come in after a busy day and you want some fresh, warm, out of the oven, homemade bread, it’s ready in minutes. But, to have the dough on hand you first you have to make it. But, it’s easy!
Warm up one cup of good water (bottled or filtered) in the microwave. It’s going to have to be warmer than body temp but not hot hot. The warmer the water the faster the dough will rise but if it’s too hot it will kill the yeast and it won’t rise at all. Put it in a medium sized mixing bowl and add a rounded tbsp. of yeast, a level tbsp. of salt (more or less), about a tbsp. of good olive oil (optional) and a pinch of sugar (optional). Whisk it up until the yeast and salt have dissolved then let it sit for five minutes or so until tiny bubbles (isn’t that an old song?) start to appear on the surface.
Add two cups of flour. With a large cooks spoon mix and then fold in the flour until it wants to turn into dough.
Add more flour if needed to be able to fold and then knead the dough just enough to get it mixed well and formed into a ball.
Put a dry towel over the bowl . Some folks cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap . Some folks do it the old fashioned way with a towel . You’re the chef do it whichever way YOU chose. Place it in a warm spot where there are no drafts. On the counter top next to the stove works good.
Let it sit until it has puffed up to about double in size, forty five minutes to 2 hours. There have been times when we have been in a crunch and have twisted off a wad of the dough after maybe ten minutes, when it just started to show a little life. It worked! Anyway, after it’s risen punch it down and take as much as you need for tonight’s supper. Have your oven preheated to 550 deg. Form your loaf any way you want it.
It’ll be done when you tap on the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow when you tap it or when the crust is as dark and crusty as you like it.
Put the rest in a plastic container that has a snap lid. It’ll waiting for you.
Then for the next few days you can grab some out of the fridge and put it in the toaster oven for some homemade, fast, warm and fresh bread right out of the oven with your dinner.
You could double the amounts so there would be even more dough on hand.