With Thanksgiving nearly here I wanted to give you a recipe that is sure to impress your guests! In my book, nothing says I know what I’m doing in the kitchen better than homemade bread. It’s probably one of the most basic additions to a Thanksgiving table, but making it from scratch and doing it well shows that you care about the details of a dinner and aren’t afraid to put in the work to create an amazing meal.
Homemade bread has a very special place in my heart because it’s something my family made all the time growing up and a tradition I’ve carried on in my own home. But I feel like bread gets a bad rap either for taking too long, requiring too much effort, or being overly complex. Let me let you in on a little secret: bread making is NONE of those things! It’s super simple and super easy. Yes, it takes a little waiting, but during that time the dough does all the work!
Trust me on this one. Freshly baked bread will be a much better addition to your table than any bagged or canned rolls. I’ll even throw in one of my favorite dipping oil recipes!
Making bread is all about the feel of it so this recipe will be light on ingredients, but heavy on instructions.
**Tip: It's easiest to make bread with a stand mixer and it's easiest to make your initial mixture in your stand mixer bowl because it's going to be sticky.
Start off by mixing together one cup of flour (you should use bread flour, but all purpose will work too), a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of yeast, a teaspoon of salt (don't skimp), and a cup of warm water. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight on the counter.
If you need your bread sooner than tomorrow, it's not the end of the world if your dough isn't left an entire night. You can make this recipe in the same day if you need to, just try to give your dough at least a couple hours to start rising.
In the morning, add another cup of flour to your dough. It's easiest to use the bread hook attachment on your mixer here, but if you don't have one, just get in there with your hands! I said bread making wasn't hard, I didn't say it wasn't messy! It may take awhile for the flour to fully mix and it may seem like your dough has completely fallen apart, but just keep mixing until it comes together to form a nice ball.
Here's where it’s all about feel. Your dough should not stick to your bread hook or your hands. If it does, add a little more flour until it feels right. It's ok for the dough to feel A LITTLE sticky, but mostly it should be very soft and smooth. It should basically feel like a literal baby's bottom.
Next, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into your bowl and toss your dough ball in it so it's coated in oil. Cover your bowl with plastic again and leave it in a warm place for a couple hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down your risen dough ball, reform it into a ball, and let it rise for another couple hours until it doubles in size.
Gently pull the dough away from the edges of the bowl and dump it onto parchment paper. Form it into a loaf and lightly rub flour over it. Cut a couple shallow slits in the top of the dough.
Let your dough sit while you preheat your oven to 450° with a cast iron skillet or baking stone inside. When the oven is hot, pick up your dough by the parchment paper and place the paper into the skillet.
Bake your bread for about 25-30 minutes. You'll know it's done when it's a beautiful golden color and when you knock on it and it sounds hollow.
Let your bread cool on a rack for a little bit, but homemade bread is best enjoyed fresh and warm!
Don't forget the dipping oil! Butter is great, but you can't beat seasoned dipping oil. There are lots of variations you can try, but here's one of my favorite and simple recipes.
Pour your olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a shallow dish or plate. lightly stir in your garlic and sprinkle your herbs and salt over the top and you're ready to go!
I hope this recipe makes you a little less intimidated by the idea of making bread from scratch. It is SO worth the extra effort and you may have trouble going back to regular ol’ store bought loaves after this! Homemade bread has a very special place in our home and I hope it earns a place in yours as well.