Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crazy Bread Recipe: The Novel

First things first- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

NEXT- Thanks everyone for eyeing my crazy bread! Since a couple of people have asked for the recipe, I will do my best to write it out for all who would like it. Keep in mind, besides the water and yeast, I don't really measure anything. Its more of a look, taste and feel the dough has.

3/4 cup warm water
1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tbsp agave nectar (approx)
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
PLUS some for your glass bowl for the first rise
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
PLUS more to knead, maybe an additional 1/2-1 cup

1/4 cup olive oil (approx)
1/4 cup agave nectar (approx)
dash of sea salt or garlic salt (I know this sounds weird but we love the sweet/savory thing)

Add the water to a large mixing bowl. The water should be cooler than bath water. If its too hot, it will kill the yeast.
Add 1 packet of dry yeast to the warm water.
Then squirt in the agave nectar and the sea salt. Mix the water, yeast, agave and sea salt until dissolved.
At this point I actually taste the water, yeast, agave and salt slurry and adjust to our taste buds. The agave helps the yeast do its thing and the salt is to make sure the bread taste good. Its best to be conservative with the salt, adding a little at a time until its salty enough for you.
Lastly, I put a glug (1-2 tbsp) of olive oil in the mixture. Everything is then mixed very, very well.
Once I have the wet ingredients combined, I add the 2 cups of flour in 1/2 cup increments. Once I have the 2 cups of flour combined with the wet ingredients, I dust the counter top with flour and place the dough on the counter. The dough at this stage looks wet and for sure needs more flour. It will be very sticky, so also add some flour to your hands.
This part is very important!!! KNEAD UNTIL YOUR ARMS HURT. Well, not hurt, but it will feel like a work out. For this recipe, I kneaded for probably 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed. You may find you won't need a lot more flour, or you need a lot more flour but the goal is to have an elastic, smooth dough.
Once the dough looks kneaded enough and a smooth ball is formed (sorry to be vague, you'll just have to try it and see for yourself) move it to a clean glass bowl that has a touch of olive oil in it so the dough won't stick or form a skin.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it double in size, which for me took about 1 1/2 hours.
Next, spray a loaf pan with cooking spray or you can probably just coat it with olive oil. After the dough has risen, I made 8 golf ball sized dough balls and placed them in the pan. From there I made gradually smaller balls fitting them in between the larger balls. I ended up with 21 balls of dough, at 4 different sizes. Really, this part isn't that important. You can make what ever pattern you'd like.
THEN, let the balls of dough rise for a second time.
Once it is about double in size, bake it at 400 degrees (preheated of course) for 10 minutes. The tops will get brown.
While this bakes, make the glaze.
After 10 minutes, take the pan out, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and brush the glaze on the brown tops. Bake the bread at 350 for probably another 15 minutes, watching closely for it not to brown too much. It should have a nice thump to it when you tap on the top (carefully, its HOT). If it doesn't thump or isn't brown enough, bake longer.
After the bread is taken out of the oven, the bread must sit in the loaf pan for about 15-20 minutes before its turned out onto a cooling rack. Once it is turned out onto a cooling rack, you gotta let it sit for another 15-20 minutes before peeling back the pieces and enjoying.

I know this is a long description/recipe, but once you do it you should get the hang of it and you too can just improvise with the process. Its really not a lot of work, it just has several steps. So worth it!!! For a guide on how it should look, review my last post. Or if you have questions, let me know!


Kelly Mahoney said...

I really want to try and bake more bread,thanks for the recipe. I used to have a breadmaker but I lost it somewhere in my myriad cross-country moves. Oh well.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

I wanted a bread maker but since I have experimented with making my own, I really enjoying doing it old school. Of course, right now I have the time to do it without a breadmaker.
Hope the recipe works out for you!

Rex said...

Very good instructions. Thorough and concise. By the looks of the crumb and crust you achieved a perfect loaf. We like to cool our bread in a plastic bag, it gives a really soft crust. The bread seems to stay fresh longer without being too dry. Happy baking.

urban vegan said...

Wow--thanks for the recipe. bread looks crazy-good.

VeggieGirl said...

thank you so much for providing us with your crazy-bread recipe!!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Woohoo! Crazy bread here I come! Thanks so much for taking the time to describe all the steps. Often times I read recipes and am a bit confused, don't think that will happen here.
And happy b-day to your mom!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

thank you, thank you, thank you! 's funny...some of the things we love to make that seem so simple to ourselves are so daunting to everyone else. i will forge ahead undaunted (now) to try my hand at this one.

scrolled back down to get another look at yours in the last post and i am positively drooling (again) ;)

Veganista said...

I'm going to have to try this. The bread looked so good--it has that really alluring golden colour to it. Thanks for the recipe!