Bread: The master recipe

Proportions are given which are suitable for virtually any European-style white bread.  The beginner should use all white bread flour until results are consistent.  Then, a cup or two of whole wheat may be substituted for part of the flour.  Some rye may be substituted, but it is trickier to handle and can produce a heavy, damp, loaf in the hands of a beginner.  Try to find a very coarse rye meal for making a very good German-style Multi-Korn pumpernickel bread.  The most important piece of baking equipment you can have is a baking stone, which is as close as most of us can come to a brick oven.

Choose the ingredients according to the capacity of your bread mixing equipement.  The 10 cup recipe is for the Cuisinart DLCX Pro food processor.  The six-cup recipe works with a 14 cup capacity food processor.  Any of these can be mixed and kneaded by hand.

6 c. bread flour
2 c. warm water
1 cake or pk. yeast
1 Tbs. salt.
10 c. bread flour
3 1/3 c. warm water
1 cake or pk. yeast
2 heaping Tbs. salt.

Combine and knead or process until the dough comes together, then knead in a food processor for 90 seconds or by  hand or in a stand mixer, for 10 minutes.

Place floured dough in a large zip-up bag in a warm place until doubled.

Re-knead and shape into loaves, buns, bagels, pita, pizza.

Allow to double in bulk again and bake in a hot 400 degree oven (reduce heat to 350 after 15 minutes).

Loaves take 40 minutes. Buns take 30. Pita takes 6 minutes. Bagels require preliminary boiling for one minute, then 30 minutes in a hot overn, turning once.