There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread on a Sunday morning or any morning.
It has become a tradition in our house that every a few Sundays I wake up early and bake bread. In the summertime, I use an outdoor oven I brought with me from Lebanon, and in the winter, I use my indoor oven in the kitchen.
A lot of people may find making bread a daunting task, but it is not. All it takes is the will to make, a little time and a good recipe that you like.
I developed my recipe from the urge to duplicate an old recipe for Mashateeh or flatbread that peasants used to make in the old days in the Middle East. After a few tries, I got to where I like both taste and texture.
It includes flour, yeast, water, oil, salt, and cracked wheat. I mixed it together in a large electric mixer and I let it do the kneading as well. It takes about 15 minutes. I cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour. When it is ready, I shape it by hand and bake it.
Now, my kids help with trying their hands on shaping the dough and watch intently until it comes out of the oven. They love it too. Click here for more photos.
Here is the recipe I use to make bread. It works for me. Try to use it and modify it to your liking.
7 cups bread flour
3 cups of warm water
1 cup of cracked wheat or cracked barley
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tbs yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup anise seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Place yeast and sugar in warm water and let it develop for a few minutes in a mixer.
Turn on the mixer; add oil, 5 cups of flour, cracked wheat, anise seeds, sesame seed, and salt. Let it mix well. change to the dough hook and add the rest of the flour gradually. The machine will knead the dough for about 15 minutes until it becomes elastic. Cover it for about two hours with a towel until it rises. shape bread to your liking using oil and sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
It is best if you have a separate bake and broil heating source.
Bake using bottom heat for about 4 minutes at 500 degrees F
Broil on high setting for about three minutes or until golden brown.
If you have a convection oven, you could do both at the same. Test it first and see what is the best option.
Note: Two things make good bread: How well it rises and hot temperature. Bread tastes better on old fashion heat instead of convection heat.