One of my ultimate reference books is The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. This book was written to discuss frugal ideas, but it also contains a wealth of information on sustainable living. She discusses reusing, repurposing and upcycling (before it was called that!) on nearly every page.
When I need a quick loaf of bread to take as a gift or to go with dinner when Scott is away, I turn to her Cuban Bread recipe – it can be found on page 542 in my version of the Complete Tightwad Gazette. (I’m putting that in here because it is not listed in the index and I can never find it since the kids keep stealing my bookmark! So now I know I just have to check ETE for the page number.)
This bread recipe is fast and requires no mixer or bread machine. It is great with honey butter or other spreads. It’s a little yeasty like a good homemade bread and it contains no High Fructose Corn Syrup like the packaged breads do. This recipe makes 2 loaves but you can half it or share that extra loaf with a friend.
We’ve modified Amy’s original recipe somewhat so here goes:
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups white flour
- 1 Tbl dry yeast (regular, not fast acting)
- 2 Tbl sugar
- 1 Tbl salt
- 2 cups hot water (not boiling, just warm to the touch)
Mix all the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Add the water and mix until all the water is absorbed. Slowly add the remaining white flour until the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. Depending on the weather you may not need it all or you may need more. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. (Get the kids to help.) Place in a bowl, cover and put in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Punch down the dough until it is deflated and cut into 2 pieces. Put these on a baking sheet lined with parchment or dusted with cornmeal. With a sharp knife, cut an “x” in the top of each loaf.
Put a pan of hot water onto the bottom shelf of your oven and put the pan of bread on the middle shelf. Set the oven to 400F and bake 45 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and place loaves on rack to cool. Wait 10 minutes (if you can) before slicing with a serrated knife.