Very Basic Bread

Total Time:
13 hr 30 min
Prep:
30 min
Inactive:
12 hr
Cook:
1 hr

Yield:
1 loaf bread
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 pound bread flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 10 ounces bottled or filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing the rising container
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Directions

Combine 5 ounces of the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast, all of the honey, and all of the bottled water in a straight-sided container; cover loosely and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Place the remaining 11 ounces of flour, remaining yeast, and all the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the pre-ferment from the refrigerator. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the mixture on low for 2 to 3 minutes just until it comes together. Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, knead the dough on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes or until you are able to gently pull the dough into a thin sheet that light will pass through. The dough will be sticky, but not so sticky that you can't handle it.

While the dough is kneading, pour half of the hot water into a shallow pan and place on the bottom rack of your oven.

Grease the inside of a large straight-sided container with the vegetable oil. Place the dough ball into the container and set on the rack above the pan of water. Allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a counter top, lightly dust your hands with flour, and press the dough out with your knuckles; then fold 1 side in towards the middle of the mass and then the other, as if you were making a tri-fold wallet. Repeat the folding a second time. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.

Flatten dough again with your knuckles and then fold the dough in onto itself, like you are shaping something that looks like a jellyfish. Turn the dough over and squeeze the bottom together so that the top surface of the dough is smooth. Place the dough back onto the counter and begin to roll gently between your hands. Do not grab the dough but allow it to move gently back and forth between your hands, moving in a circular motion. Move the dough ball to a pizza peel or the bottom of a sheet pan that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal. Cover with the kitchen towel and allow to bench proof for 1 hour, or until you poke the dough and it quickly fills back in where you poked it.

Place an unglazed terra cotta dish upside down into the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the 1/3 cup of water and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Uncover the dough and brush the surface with this mixture. Gently slash the top surface of the dough ball in several places, approximately 1/3 to 1/2-inch deep. Add more of the hot water to the shallow pan if it has evaporated. Slide the bread onto the terra cotta dish in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Once the bread has reached an internal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F, remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.


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4.7 118
The bread is good, but the recipe is overcomplicated. This recipe could be simplified, even at the cost of the bread's quality, because 'very basic bread' should be a stepping stone to 'bread'. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread is very good but also very sticky. Prepare to use a lot of flour when kneading. I'm going to try adding in Rosemary on my second run-through. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I use this as the basis for my everyday bread. One thing I have noticed is that Alton Brown always bakes HOT - meaning that his *finished internal temperature* is too hot, and therefore dry, for my tastes. This is true for his breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, quickbreads, you name it. Because he always lists the doneness temp, you can adjust as needed - Yey Alton - instead of the blind "bake for 45 minutes or until done" instructions. I like it pulling this bread out at 185 F. It usually coasts up to 190 F with residual heat, then slowly recedes in temperature over the next couple of hours. As an experiment, leave the oven probe thermometer in the bread for the entire cooling cycle. Alton always accounts for residual heat when cooking meat. I don't remember him mentioning it at all in baking. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love Alton, like most of us.. But every single one of his recipes always calls for way too long of cook times.. Whether its frying, or baking, it always seems long. I just made this recipe for the first time, I have a NORMAL, non convection oven.. Pre-heated to 400 degrees, within 15 minutes the crust already had a nice brown finish.. Nice to the point of it being done. I rotated the pan at that time and let it go another 15 minutes (30 minutes in At 30 minutes, I had enough, the bread was turning black.. I checked its temp and it was already at 210 degrees. Its cooling now on the counter on a rack, but I must say, it looks BURNT! and its annoying, after spending so much time on something to have it look black. This bread was in the over for less than HALF of what was called, I would love to send a picture to Alton and ask him "What is up dude?!" BTW, this is a brand new oven, not 3 months old. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Years ago I had a fairly high-end bread maker and tried dozens of different recipes and box mixes. None of the scratch recipes ever came close to the best of the box mixes, but the good boxed mixes were nearly as expensive as a loaf of bakery bread. This recipe with the flavor and texture developed by the pre-fermentation is better than any bread I've previously done, better than the bread my mother or grandmother used to make with much finer grain structure and more flavor. I didn't use the mixer, but rather kneaded the bread by hand for about 10 minutes using a rams-head kneading pattern that I use for kneading ceramic clay. Didn't have a terracotta dish, and wasn't excited enough to figure out how to get one home from a home store on my motorcycle, so i just threw a kiln shelf in the oven from my smaller kiln and it worked perfectly, item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have prepared this recipe 5 times recently and I love the bread's flavor and its crust. It is so delicious! Also, it's a perfect size for our 2 person household. I prefer to omit the refrigeration step leaving the starter on the counter for 4-6 hours; then I proceed exactly as specified. For the final proof step, I place the dough on parchment paper which moves easily to the oven where I bake it on our pizza stone. It is usually done in 25 minutes. The instant read thermometer is very helpful, too. Tasty! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Tasty but tough to handle. I used bread flour, weighed ingredients, carefully followed each step, added extra flour to handle (about 1/3 c in all, kneaded appropriate times, allowed to rest appropriate times, and still I get a spreading blob at final step. The 'tighten up' never happens. I get a nice low profile free form loaf that tastes good. Oh, well. Pans for me and no nice crust. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thank you Alton! I am 61 and been baking bread for years. I have Williams Sonoma bread baking book but without your techniques i could never get a nice, crusty, brown, tall, loaf of bread. Even williams sonoma says splitting the top is decorative. As you showed me that is not the case. What is smooth and elastic? what does that look like? You showed me. The cornstarch wash makes a perfect crust. Thank you! item not reviewed by moderator and published
the best bread I have ever made. Made some mistakes and did not have the terra cotta base (its winter and the local hardware is out dah but it still had an excellent chew. The youtube videos (pt 1-2 is invaluable in helping to explain the steps. Alton was/is always spot on with his cooking instructions item not reviewed by moderator and published
Tastes good, but yes it's basic. This was my first bread and it was probably a good starter recipe, but I'll likely look for something more adventurous for next time. I didn't have a pizza stone or ceramic pot base, so mine baked on the bottom of a large cast iron skillet turned upside down. I also don't have a pizza peel, so I did the final rise on parchment and slid it off a poly cutting board. Both of these substitutions worked out quite well. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Tastes good, as far as basic bread goes. I agree with Alton on soaking the flour overnight as a preferment, to help hydrate the gluten, instead of using the straight dough method. But he is really over complicating a simple bread recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was simply fantastic. Google the video on youtube and watch it - definitely helps to see the technique and what the dough should look like at various stages. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread was AMAZING! It was as good as I remember my grandma's as being. Did I mess up? Yes. But it still turned out beautifully! I did use a pizza stone to bake on instead of the terra cotta pot but it worked wonderfully. I didn't have to use the cornmeal either- it just slid right off. I'm glad this recipe takes a little preparation time,otherwise I would be eating a loaf a day! item not reviewed by moderator and published
YUMMY!!!! This was AMAZING (even though I messed up so much ...). Firstly, I do not have a food scale, so I had to google all the equivalents and do my best to keep it accurate. I also do not have a stand mixer, I kneaded the dough by hand (I also added too much flour because it was not sticky at ALL and it was very hard. I couldn't get it to the point where it would stretch out for light to come through, so I made it into a ball and left it to rise. It took 2 1/2 hours to rise the first time. I took it out and 'knuckled' it and rolled it into a pathetic ball...after letting it rise and doing the box cuts, I put it in the oven on an inverted cookie sheet (no terra cotta...) and cooked it for around 30 minutes (no thermometer). I took it out and did not wait a second to dig in!! 30 minutes? REALLY? I had it fresh from the oven ... it was PERFECT and I ate about half the loaf right there!!!! I strongly suggest this recipe - it is very hard to go wrong!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Alton Brown has crazy mad food science skills. And his explanation of why one should use Rapid Rise yeast, combined with cold temperature was enlightening. His trick for keeping the dough from enveloping the dough hook by momentarily increasing the mixer speed was nothing short of genius. Alton also suggested using a rubber band to mark the original dough level ensuring proper rise, a great idea....and the inverted clay pot saucer well....gobsmacked! Unfortunately these "cook notes" weren't in the recipe when I made this boule', I had to hunt the net to find the Dr. Strangeloaf episode. (Suggest Food Network simplify this process). My personal suggestions, wet hands and lightly wet counter when working the dough, really eliminates sticking. It would be nice if this recipe segued into other versions e.g. whole wheat, seeded etc... Another reviewer suggested making multiple poolishes at one time so they're on hand when you want to make bread. A really good, solid recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
While this very basic bread is awesomely tasty with a beautiful crisp crust & Chewy interior, I'll have to go on record for saying that the multiple steps for making it reduced the rating to 4. I added rosemary to mine, and the bread turned out Golden, Brown & Delicious and perfect to eat with some salted butter and a slice of aged Gruyere on top! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread is delicious. I make it in a loaf pan and we use it for our sandwiches. It is easy and delicious. By far my favorite for turkey sandwiches! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made 3 loaves of this at my last gathering. Served them with honey butter. They were gone in 30 minutes flat. Ridiculously good bread. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am an experienced bread baker and have many books on bread available to me. This is the recipe that I use the most. This is also the bread that my daughter requests the most. I don't have a stand mixer, and the recipe works just fine kneading by hand. I think that this is a great recipe to introduce someone to bread making. Bread making is really all about technique, and the techniques taught here can be used to make more complex breads. The two most important ingredients in bread making are patience and a good scale. If you follow the recipe you are just about guaranteed a delicious, crusty loaf of bread. item not reviewed by moderator and published
C'mon already, Alton. Basic bread is 4 ingredients, and a couple of rises. Why must you make everything so difficult? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Although there is a lot of inactive cooking time, in the end it is well worth the wait. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread is great! The directions are easy to follow, ingredients are simple, and the taste and texture is right where you want it. I followed the directions to the letter (almost... more on that later) and the bread was a huge hit with the family. Although... about 14 hours from start to finish and gone in 20 min. I followed the directions really closely, but I did make some changes here and there. First, I didn't have a stand mixer and didn't want to go out and spend $300 on one to make bread. So I mixed everything by hand and kneaded the dough roughly 25 minutes to get it where I wanted it to be. The second was, I floured an inverted cooking sheet to use instead of cornmeal on pizza spatula. I didn't want to buy the cornmeal just to use for this. A bit of a mistake here. The flour wasn't enough and stuck to the sheet and I had to pull at it and spray the bottom with a non-stick spray. That worked... kinda. The bread deflated a bit while I was pulling at it. Next time will try it with the spray from the beginning or try the cornmeal. Third, instead of the terracotta dish, I used the quarry tile. But... I found out it cracked through the middle when I took my bread out. I think that either it was adding the water for steam a bit late in the process or the cold dough caused it to crack. Or... maybe there was a problem with the tile from the start. Regardless, it still came out great. Can't wait to make it again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe does call for a lot of time and attention, but it is SO worth it. I made the preferment with bread flour but used white whole wheat flour for the rest. The dough didn't rise quite as much as I would have liked (next time will try a bit more yeast?) and I was too impatient to wait any longer than the recipe called for, but the result was an amazing loaf: crusty on the outside, moist and really flavorful on the inside. I am not a veteran bread maker, so I was happily surprised that my efforts produced such a wonderful product. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is excellent bread; the only problem is that we don't want to stop eating it! My friends & family LOVE it when I make this bread? Great texture and worth the bit extra to make the preferment! Love to play around with this basic recipe I have found I can make so many other kinds of bread just by changing a few little things. Thanks Alton Brown? Wish I could come work for you!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love you Alton, but.... This bread took two days, from start to finish nothing worked out. I make French bread yesterday, easy and it came out perfect. I will be deleting this one. Sorry. Debra item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is an excellent bread, even when made incorrectly. First off, during the 1-2 hour rising period, my dough just didn't rise. Then, when it rose in the the oven, the bottom rose as well, resulting in a roly-poly bread-ball. I can think of 1000 reasons why that happened though. I know that I didn't use the right type of yeast. AND that yeast may or may not have been old. Also, like someone else already stated, MEDIUM may not translate to the middle speed setting on your mixer. I have a 10-20-year-old KitchenAid stand mixer, and it has 10 speed settings, so naturally I set the knead speed to 5. After about five minutes, the motor started making angry hissing noises so I stopped and finished kneading by hand (hope It I stopped it in time to save it; the old girl's part of the family and frankly I don't think anyone would appreciate having to go out and spend $300 on a shiny new one). Also, I didn't use a terra-cotta pot/dish because I forgot to stop by Home Depot during the ingredients run. Instead, my stir-crazy brain (at the point of baking the time was about 4:30 in the morning, there is no such thing as good tv at that time, and fatigue and oreos don't mix) decided that an upside-down baking pan would work just as well (>_> No...it doesn't). But in badly-written conclusion, the finish product was tasty, crusty, and closer to bread than any bread I've made before. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One of my early childhood memories is that of coming home from school to the smell of my grandfather's fresh baked bread. It's been a long time and I didn't bake bread because I remember it was complicated. This recipe is NOT complicated. You don't even need a stand mixer to do it. The bread is delicious. My family loves wheat bread so I replaced half the regular bread flour with whole wheat flour and upped the honey to 4 tablespoons. Fantastic! For my small family, one loaf lasts one week. We haven't bought a loaf of bread at the store since I started making this bread. Oh the memories that come flooding back each week as the smell of the baking loaf fills the house! Thank you, Mr. Brown! I never thought I would ever be baking my own bread. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If this is truly basic bread then what more could I need... okay maybe butter. This really hit me right in my spot... Wonderful recipe, wonderful bread. Thank-you Mr. Brown. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The only problem with this bread is that we don't want to stop eating it! Of course, its so easy & inexpensive to make... As to some of the comments: -Yes, the total prep time is long, but its not active working time! It's just waiting & let-it-do-its-stuff time. The long, cool ferment is what makes the flavor so rich. The actual work time is only about an hour or so...not long at all, unless you're impatient...totally understandable with this bread, but its sooo worth it! -Yes, the dough is a bit sticky, but you want that for the nice crust. If you add too much flour, it just won't have that wonderful, chewy, crispy crust. That's why he has the water in the oven...moist environment=great crusty bread! -And yes, I too would love to live in Alton's neighborhood...but then all I'd do is cook & eat...eat & cook! Nothing else would get done & I'd gain a hundred pounds in no time! Hmm...could be fun! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have tried many recipes and I was never fully satisfied. Until now! Best bread i ever tasted Thanks a lot item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love the recipe, but alot of us don't have stand mixers or cuisinarts. Would be nice to know how to do it by hand if you can't afford all the wonders of the kitchen. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I make a lot of bread and have tried many recipes with success for most. But I tell you, I have not made an Alton recipe yet that wasn't fantastic. I even let my sponge sit in reefer for two days, and it was still awesome. Makes a great hearty bread for fondue! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Alton Brown does it again for this relatively simple basic white bread, but be warned you need to abandon the shackles of volumetric cooking. Being precise in measuring is key to consistency (although temp, humidity and barometric pressure also adds a bit of variability). Just follow the recipe pretty carefully and you will have a loaf that has a nice crunchy (but not hard) exterior with a very light flavorful interior with well distributed and even bubbles. We even left the dough to rise overnight in the oven (with the hot water) so we could bake it in the morning and seemed to even give it more flavor. Definitely Two Yum's Up! on the recipe and on the bread it produces. item not reviewed by moderator and published
After reading these reviews it seems people are trying to figure it all out without weighing ingredients. If you want to do any kind of yeast bread baking, you really need to weigh. What you think is a cup of flour can vary by ounces every time you scoop meaning you will get inconsistent results from your dough. So quit complaining and BUY A SCALE. Now for the bread: fabulous. I think the directions are clear however it helped greatly that I just caught this episode the other day, especially for the rolling of the dough when it is in a ball. Great crust, great crumb, but cooking time only took me 40 minutes. Start checking early or your bread may be toast. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Don't have a scale (will purchase one when there's some wiggle in the budget), but after some research decided to use 3 1/3 c. flour. I think it was a little too much, because after the first mix things seemed a little dry (the dough was leaving lots of crumbs at the bottom of the mixer bowl). I added some water (about 2 T) and then decided to add another little bit of flour (1-2 T). Kneading took a very long time (30 minutes) and although I got close didn't really seem to get the see-through look on the small ball of dough without it splitting open. Shaping the dough into a ball at the end, everything was kind of splitting open (I didn't add any flour at this point). My surface is far from smooth. It's rising as I write, so I'm not sure how good it will taste. Aside from measuring the flour and not using a scale, what else did I do wrong? Too much flour? Not enough? Too much kneading? Thanks for any help! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I want to live just down the road from Alton the rest of my natural born days. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I won't comment on the recipe itself, which makes a great and easy bread dough. I will describe a little trick that you can do with the dough once you've put it together and risen. I learned it from my grand-mother who in turn knew it from her father who was a baker. He used to make these little treats, but they were for family only - they never made it to the shop mostly because they were getting eaten right away. :) So here's what you do: after the dough has risen, instead of shaping it into a loaf roll it in a sheet 1/2 inch thick - or if you want you can stretch it by hand like pizza dough. Take a pizza cutter and cut it into 1-1/2 in squares. Separate the squares by at least 1in. Cover with a damp towel and let rise again for 15-20 min or until their thickness doubles. While waiting, fire up your deep fryer - you see where this is going now. You won't be actually "deep" fry them since the dough is so light, it floats on top of the oil. I usually do it in a pan with an inch of oil. drop the squares in, don't overcrowd - no more than 5-6 at a time. They will puff up considerably while frying. Only need about 1 minute per side. Turn over once when they're golden brown on one side, let go for another minute until the other side is golden. Remove, drain, sprinkle with plenty of kosher salt. Eat right away. :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ok, not that this recipie needs any more people "raving" about how good this bread is, but oh man....so easy!! Yet yeilds bakery like results. I pay Bel- Air $4 for bread like this!! The ingredients are cheap!! Only 1 tsp! A teaspoon of yeast!! You CAN skip on the time by a few hours for the pre-ferment and the final rises and still come out with a great product!! Also great to add cheese in the final rise. Kids LOVE it!! I saw that a lot of people were worried about the sticky feel of the dough but don't worry about it. When you knead the dough you add a small amount of flour. Also it is meant to be sticky. It turns out great. Making this bread makes you feel like a great cook!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely the best bread I've ever made. Great texture and worth the bit extra to make the preferment. Actually I'm sold on the preferment...poolish.. idea and will be making all my breads this way. Only problem I had was I had the loaf in the middle of the oven and it rose to the point it was only a couple of inches from the top of the oven so it got a bit brown on top. Next time, I'll move it down one. It did cook quicker and mine took 45 min. I had an oven thermometer to check the temp. The bread was 200 deg at that point. I also let the preferment sit on the counter a couple hrs before I made the bread, so the yeast could further develop. Worth the time and effort from now on I'll take Sandra's advice and make several batches of the starter so I'll always have it ready to go. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You will certainly be tempted to make this bread daily! Take it from an experienced bread maker (as well as someone who has lived in Europe for years, where bread is still the staff of life) this is as basic as it gets and easy as well. Try this for making your prep. time shorter. Make several batches of starter and store it in the refrigerator until needed. I hold it for no more than 1 week. This is also the point to try other grains, such as spelt, whole wheat or rye. When ready for a fresh loaf, weigh the flour into your mixing bowl, add the yeast and salt, and dump in the starter. Mix as directed. I let my dough rise on the counter top and often let it triple in bulk (for even better flavor, but the room temp. should be on the cool side). I shape the loaf, and let it rise as before, but on parchment, until doubled. When ready to bake, I preheat my oven and place the dough on the ever-present pizza stone with the pizza "shovel." Fifty minutes is usually all it takes. I really appreciate the thermometer reading. Who can tell by thumping? The important thing is to be flexible; bread is very adaptable to suit your available time. You will spend less and eat better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My first try came out like I was making Clay...I think my water to flour ratio was off. The second time I added more ater and it came out perfect. This is a BIG loaf. On You Tube you can find the eposiode for this recipe (Dr. Strangeloaf). I found it very helpful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing! This was my first time baking bread but I'm glad I picked this recipe. I can't imagine how good it must taste baked by someone with more expirence and all the right tools. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except: -I don't own a mixer (since I'm a recent college grad and broke) so I kneeded the dough by hand. -Used a pizza stone -It was done in about 35 minutes. This bread taste so much better that store bought chemical bread, and it's cheaper too! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This has to be one of the most delicious breads I have ever tasted! Moist, chewy, and flavorful, and better than anything I've ever bought in a bakery. I followed this recipe step by step, and even though the dough was a little sticky, it still came out perfectly. My loaf looked a little smaller than Alton's did, but that could be the magic of TV. My only (BIG) difference from the recipe was that in less than half an hour, it smelled done. By the time I checked it (30-35 mins) with a thermometer, it was reading at 207. I can't imagine what would've happened if I left it in for the full 50. It was also baked on a pizza stone instead of terra cotta, but I don't believe that would've changed anything. I was tempted to rate it at 4 stars because it is a VERY time-consuming recipe. Not including the night-before starter, this loaf takes 4-5 hours from mixing ingredients to serving. Of course, once I tasted it, I couldn't bring myself to rating it lower - it's that good. I look forward to making this many more times in the future. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Lets start with I am a bread snob. Some are snobby about wine, beer, etc, with me its bread. Food of the gods if done right. And done right is so rare in the USA. I hate the bread sold in grocery stores--I NEVER buy it. I love artisan breads but in my area of the world, they are hard to find. This bread is awesome. There is now a reason for that $300 kitchenaid on my counter. I wish Alton would provide other recipes for other breads like wheat, oat, french.... item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is the best bread recipe ever. I've made it 5 times in the past month and every time my bread has come out perfectly. Just follow the recipe and you can't fail. I've always loved good bread but have never been successful at baking a good loaf. The dough is easy to work with and it has never failed to raise. I use unglazed quarry tiles that I picked up at my big box hardware retailer, in place of the unglazed terra cotta dish. Alton's the best. I've tried a lot of his recipes and techniques and I've never been unhappy with the results. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Weighing is very important and I had to add a few Tbs of additional flour. This recipe worked very well at high altitude (5400ft) without any changes. I did notice that the cooking time needed to be reduced to about 47 minutes. I added about 1 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and about 1 1/2 tsp of dried oregano and it turned out amazing. I highly recommend using the bottled water for the yeast. Thanks Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Not being able to find my scale since we moved, I made this stupid mistake (please don't repeat it). *Thinking to myself* 1lb = 16oz, 8oz = 1c, so 2c = 1lb. Yeah, in FLUID, not in FLOUR. So, needless to say, my bread was stiiiiicky! But, being a relative beginner, like I knew. I did eventually sheepishly added 1/2c, thinking I would ruin the recipe. Re-reading the comments I realized I used 1/2 the flour I should have (as someone else posted, it's almost 4c, not 2c). Regardless, the bread, amazingly, turned out pretty well. Chewy and dense, but I certainly don't blame the bread for that. The taste reminded me more of sourdough than anything. In any case, if a recipe can survive my questionable math skills, it must be pretty foolproof. My only thought for the other people who had sticky issues (I mean, this thing was pretty darn runny), the only thing I can think of is you MUST not have used enough flour and made a computational mistake like me. I mean, I used 1/2 the flour I should have! Do your math right (and just weigh it) and this recipe really shouldn't disappoint. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made this today and it was delicious! I have tried other bread recipes in the past and this one is by far the best. I don't have a dough hook for my mixer, so I kneaded it by hand. The stretch test did wonders! Before this recipe I never had a way to know how my gluten was getting on. Awesome! item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you own a Kitchenaid standmixer like me, you might want to be careful setting it to MEDIUM as Alton suggests. Medium would mean 5 since 10 is the highest setting on the mixer but the Kitchenaid manual warns about putting it any higher than 2 for bread or pizza dough. Trust me, I learned this the hard way, after following his instructions and setting the mixer on Medium (between 4-5), I ended up with a broken mixer. Not fun, since they aren't particularly cheap either. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I shared some of the information from this recipe with a friend of mine who just graduated from a very professional baking school and she was amazed. This recipe is a great jumping point to learn and then try modifying it yourself. Thanks very much Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I know that a hook should be easier than kneading by hand... but I found that kneading by hand I was better able to better control to which stage I got the dough. Otherwise, it's darn good bread even without the overnight step. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The end result of this bread is good, but I don't believe the 13+ hours of waiting actually make any difference whatsoever in the final product. In fact, I've found that this recipe results in a dough that doesn't rise to anywhere near what I'd like. It looks great when it's done, but the taste is nothing to brag about. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow! I can't believe that I actually made bread in my own sad little kitchen. The bread was delicious and had a certain depth to the flavor that I don't think would have been possible without the overnight step. The dough was really sticky...I couldn't even roll it well. I think that I will add an extra ounce of flour next time and see what happens. Also I agree that 40 minutes is a maximum for the bread in many ovens. Mine was at 208 degrees at 40 minutes. I think that I will bake it for 37 minutes next time and loosely cover the bread with foil after 32 minutes. Despite these minor imperfections that will require a few tweaks in the future, the bread was GREAT! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love Alton Brown's recipes, you can't go wrong with them. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great recipe. I made no changes, although my baking time turned out to be slightly shorter. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Another wonderful recipe from Alton- he's never done us wrong yet! My daughter's 3rd grade science project involves bread making and she has been searching for a way to email Alton to ask him some questions. She is as devoted a fan as we "big people"! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Yes this did have a very good flavor however; I agree with some former reviews in that it is time consuming and the measurements in oz. instead of cups threw off a number of people who tried this recipe. There are comparable breads containing the chewy texture, crisp crust, and yeast flavor without all the work. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wonderful bread recipe. I would never call it "basic". The recipe compares to Panera in looks, taste, texture, etc. Why buy artisan bread when you can make it at home? Even though it does take time.... And the aroma when it's baking....what can I say??? Like reviewers before me have said..the hardest part is waiting 30 minutes after it bakes. And there is nothing more comforting that fresh baked bread and real butter. Yum :') item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is awesome! The bread is great! Just be careful, without a mixing machine and bread hook, this is a lot of work. Also, you really need a scale, but I found that 16 oz was (for me) about 3.66 cups of flour, so the preferment portion is about a cup (that portion of flour seems to be unimportant, but the total is very important). Also, for the water, 16 oz is two cups. If you don't get the water/flour mix exactly, you can adjust it in the first kneading step. If too dry, lightly wet your hands when kneading to add water and knead a couple of times. repeat until dough is springy and just a little sitcky. If too sticky, lightly flour hands when kneading until dough is springy and slightly sticky. Also, if possible, for water in pan in oven for proofing and cooking, try to use the filtered water if the tap water in your area has a strong chlorine smell (like LA!). item not reviewed by moderator and published
i bake quite a bit of yeast bread and rolls-this recipe is easy with great results-Thanks!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread is so wonderful! And it doesn't get stale after one day, like store bought bread. Mine only needed 40 minutes of baking, and it started to burn on top so I loosely covered it with a sheet of foil. I've also tried this with about 3/4 cups of olives and added about 2-3 tablespoons of flour. Also I just used a regular baking stone. Very tasty! item not reviewed by moderator and published
time consuming; but, well worth it item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a keeper, ALTON, as are most of your recipes. Plus, you rule. But your Focaccia, (page 260,'I'm Just Here For More Food') is NG. Even my poor Kitchen Aid Mixer failed at kneading this dough. Too much flour/too little H2O and way too salty, even w/kosher salt and no salt on top, to boot. I've been in the (home)artisian bread making biz for ages, and all I can come up with is the dreaded cookbook TYPO. ALTON, what's the deal, goshdarnit? Any corrections you could toss my way? My email addy is: HotParadox@comcast.net. Thank you for all the fun and good eats you provide! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This bread is great, I added a couple tablespoons of splenda and it gave sort of a french bread taste item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was very difficult for me to convert the ounces to cups, etc for this recipe. It was really confusing. It would have been nice if the measurements were given as they traditionally are in the USA-in cups, not ounces for dry ingredients such as flour. I ended up wasting ingredients until I got it right. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe calls for "instant rapid rise" yeast. I found this confusing and had to watch the episode again to double check. You'll want to use instant yeast (Saf-Instant is what I used) rather than the rapid yeast you find in packets. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been on a quest to find and buy the perfect bread--crusty on the outside, soft on the inside--for years to no avail. Finally, after watching Alton's bread recipe I was inspired to try to achieve bread perfection by doing the baking myself. Luckily, by following this recipe, I found exactly what I was looking for on the first try. This bread is absolutely delicious. It reminds me of the Pugliese bread I grew up with from the Italian bakery. The hardest part was the waiting time--especially the last 30 minutes of cooling!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Okay. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Make this right away- it's wonderful! But make sure you have the right tools: I improved a little on the terra cotta pot idea and lined the bottom and rack of my gas oven with unglazed quarry tiles- my oven was a glorious brick oven for about $7.50 from the tile store. I didn't have a peel so I used the back of a cookie sheet. I didn't improvise on the scale however, a good kitchen scale is imperative! Watch your bread as the 50-60 minutes suggested was a little too long for me, I probably should have pulled it out at 45- but despite it being a little overly-brown this was a delicious chewy chewy bread that's even good on the 2nd day! item not reviewed by moderator and published
It takes a little time but it is well worth the wait! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first day of breadmaking ever. After (somewhat) following the recipe and waiting for the pre-ferment overnight, the dough didn't look "right" to me - it wasn't rising and it seemed very heavy so I thought I had wrongly executed the conversions or added too much flour to compensate for adding the liquid that covered my Tupperwared pre-ferment to the dough. I left the dough out overnight intending to toss out my "mistake" and to my happy surprise, the next morning I found it had lots of air pockets...I baked it (since I had nothing to lose) and watched it rise in the oven!! The texture is dense and chewy with a crisp crust - even without the cornstarch wash - I used a steam bath...I'll make it again and leave out the liquid from the pre-ferment - or wrap it loosely as Alton instructs! :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did a couple of tries on this recipe. I like the 'sponge' method and it's nice to have a 1 yeast envelope recipe. Many call for 2. It's very good bread, but like the recipe says, very basic. item not reviewed by moderator and published
well to all you AB fans this was another trympth from the oven! If you haven't had the pleasure of feeling the dough between your finger tips, then oh what good eats your missing out on. I've made my fair share of yeast breads most my life ( my mother encouraged us kids to explore ) and I never made bread so good. I mill my own wheat from whole grains( this works well but I do suggest ya toss in about 4 or 5 table spoons of wheat gluton) it helps make the bread "window pain". But the use of the terra cotta saucer from my local hardware store made a great improvement. I've also never did the pre-ferment and that worked very well. I have upgraded my baking with a kitchen aid stand mixer ( several loafs by hand is quite the chore) it was sucha hit, I'm now being requested to bake up some more. this is a very worth wild endeavor, for fresh bread is sooo nice to enjoy. ( P.S. it goes great with a winter squash soup!) item not reviewed by moderator and published
i think that this recipe makes good bread. but it is very time consuming, when i made it i got home a 4 P.M. and i got to put it in the oven at about 8:30 p.m. and i did the first part the previous day. i will still use this recipe but i just wanted to poin that out. andrew19933 item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been baking for years. I tries this bread and loved it. I reccommended it to a friend that had never made bread and she was able to also get great results. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Followed the recipe to the "T" and it came out great. No guesswork in deciding how much flour to add. Dough was slightly sticky, but manageable, as AB said. Nice crust, and interior was slightly off-white, moist, with great sourdough smell and flavor. This is not "Very Basic Bread". I've made "very basic bread", and it was very boring in comparison. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Alton's method for putting a bread together worked fantastic. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The bread is very simple to make and tast very good too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this bread during the summer and my husband and I ate every crumb of it. My mom has made me promise to make it for Christmas Eve and I can't wait to make it again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this bread quite a few times, and it never lets me down. The final presentation is certainly worth the easy effort. This recipe couldn't be easier on the budget, and although it appears time consuming, it really isn't. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thanks for this Alton! I have been on a bread baking kick lately, thanks to Dr. Strangeloaf! I have tried a number of good recipes. But this recipe is perhaps the best I have tried so far. The crumb is light, but dense enough for good sandwiches. The crust is a bit flakey and delicious. The time is worth it, as it is with all good breads. I gave mine a few extra minutes of hand kneading (I always seem to need to knead more than called for to get the windowpane). If you don't have a kitchen scale, get one! I'll try this again, but perhaps with different shapes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was easy, fun and delicious. You couldn't ask for more. I baked my bread for 50 minutes and it was almost too much. I guess I will have to get out the thermometer! lol item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have some experience making homemade yeast breads. But before this I had not found a really good one that I could use for sandwiches requiring a dense consistent crumb. This one is it! It was so good I actually ate HALF the loaf as soon as it cooled. And I didn't even bother to put anything on it! No butter, nothing at all. It was so moist and dense and soft and chewy and full of flavor! Later, I rediscovered the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich! It was the best one I ever ate! If you have a Kitchenaid Mixer, there's NO REASON to ever buy store bread again. Even the best ones out there don't come close to the density, flavor, spongy texture, etc. of this bread. But even if you kneed it yourself (I did), it's not too bad; good exercise. I'll be making this weekly. TIPS: Slice it & freeze the slices you're not going to use that day in a Rubbermaid container as soon as it cools. Then you can just pull them out and thaw in an airtite container any time you want. It will be as good as the day you froze it. Also, ferment the "pre-ferment" overnight in the refridgerator for more flavor and moisture. (You may have to leave the honey out of the pre-ferment but add it in the final dough. The yeast will go crazy with the honey in it.) item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this recipe and make it almost once a week...it is a little time consuming, but it is fool-proof. Alton did an awesome job on this one...thanks! item not reviewed by moderator and published
A little work, but well worth the results. item not reviewed by moderator and published
A fun recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first time making yeast bread of any kind and it came out amazingly! It was really crusty on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. I added poppy seeds, a few caraway seeds and some salt to the top before baking it which added great flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love alton brown and the way he makes boring recipies seem fun. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Fun and delicious, this one is always a winner. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thanks Alton for providing us with a fool-proof recipe (again). I have messed the process up some many time and in so many ways and it always comes out better than anything I can buy in a store. If you're listening, how well does the recipe scale? How would I make 2 or more loaves at the same time? Thanks. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perfect crust, perfect texture, perfect flavor! I was even able to adapt it into my first succesfull sourdough bread. The only problem was that it took such a long time to prepare. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a terrific recipe, but I'm wondering -- can I throw other stuff in to vary the bread? Say rosemary and garlic? Cheese? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Can be used to modify for other breads, like cheese loaf or cinnamon bread for french toast. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made several loaves of this bread, white and whole wheat. It is simple, albiet time consuming, to make but it is well worth it. I'm making another loaf as I write this but using sour cream for the liquid. I expect I'll have to augment that with water tomorrow (I let the first portion sit in the 'fridge overnight). There is NOTHING like the aroma of home made bread wafting through the house. PS. I also 'discovered that a heavy wash of corn starch seems to look even nicer when taken out of the oven Paul O'Fallon, MO item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great bread, I've made it many times already. It is also the best bread I've found so far to use for Alton's french toast recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Sure, it takes some time, but it's not like you're tending to it. It's possible to make a serviceable loaf of bread in 2 hours, but you'll sacrifice flavor and texture. I love sesame seeds on my bread, so after brushing with the cornstarch slurry (and before slashing the loaf), I tossed some on and baked as directed. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hey, Love your easy to follow directions for incorporating the use of my lovely kitchen aid in the making of bread. I love to make bread, (do it twice a week) and using my "multi function machine" made it so much more pleasurable to do. TYTYTYTY Alton for making my life easier. Love your show, never miss it if I can help it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was very fun! Also it was very super good! But I did not like all the waiting. :) :):) :) :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've gone through nearly a dozen bread recipes so far. You'd think with flour, water, and yeast it wouldn't be too hard to find a good recipe but most I have tried have been a little off. Alton has come through with this recipe! I don't know if it's leaving the yeast in the fridge overnight or the terracotta plate but this recipe turns out perfect. The crust and the texture are just wonderful, the entire family loved it. This is a definite keeper. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Makes a beautiful, tasty loaf. Definitely a keeper! Make sure you check the temp at 40 minutes--my loaf baked up to 208 degrees at 40 minutes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The title is because this is a very basic bread. It said nothing about being easy. However, if you believe this bread is too hard to make, there are easier methods.<div>Bread is 'basically' water, flour, salt. Yeast was a lucky find. Sugar makes yeast go crazy..</div><div><br /></div><div><br /></div><div>The rest is proportion and technique. How you work and rest the dough.. How you proof and cook the dough. Feeel free to improvise with Alton's recipe, but the bread itself is quite good!</div> item not reviewed by moderator and published

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