Sheri Poore

Sheri Poore

A pleasant side effect of being compelled to stay close to home is having the time to bake bread.

My mother and I have baked all the recipes printed here, and we found they are not difficult. The beer bread and biscuits do not require yeast. All are delicious when fresh from the oven – and they produce marvelous toast or French toast on subsequent days.

Dutch Oven Bread

Reprinted from Tasty.co

2 cups lukewarm water, between 90 and 110 degrees F

1 envelope active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour, lightly packed and leveled off, plus more for dusting

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

Stir the yeast into the water and allow the yeast to bloom until foamy.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt, then create a small well in the middle and pour in the water and yeast mixture.

Stir by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon. The water and flour should come together and a form rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour in small increments, about 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once the dough comes together, cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 ½-2 hours).

Uncover the dough and give it a few pokes with your finger. If the dough has risen properly, it should indent under the pressure of your finger and slowly deflate.

Using your hand or a rubber spatula, start from the rim of the bowl to work the dough loose from the sides and fold it up and toward the center of the bowl. Turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat until all the dough has been pulled from the sides and folded toward the center.

Once finished, cover and let the dough rise again for another 1 ½-2 hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size again, gently transfer it from the bowl to a lightly floured surface.

Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. Using your hands, begin to shape it into a loaf. Fold the dough under itself several times to form a ball, then pinch together the seams of dough underneath.

Place the dough seam-side down in a clean bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil and dusted with flour.

Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place a 6-quart cast-iron Dutch oven (or heavy cooking pot with oven-safe lid) inside the oven. Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C) with the pot inside for 30 to 45 minutes.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place it on a trivet or heat-safe surface. (Be careful! It will be very hot.)

Turn the proofed dough over onto a lightly floured surface and carefully place it inside the pot.

Cover with the lid and return the pot to the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes, removing the lid for the last 15 minutes.

Remove bread from pot and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes: One of my alternatives to placing the dough in the clean bowl before the last rise is as follows. Line a bowl that’s about the same size as your Dutch oven with parchment paper, making sure the paper extends past the rim. Place the dough inside, cover and let rise. When it’s time to transfer the dough to the pot, lift parchment paper together with the dough and gently place all into the Dutch oven, being careful not to burn yourself. The parchment paper will keep the bread from sticking to the pot. Cover and bake as directed.

Search the Internet for other Dutch oven bread recipes that require fewer steps – just mix, let rise for 12 to 18 hours, and bake.

Beer Bread

Reprinted from food.com

3 cups flour, sifted

3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using self-rising flour)

1 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rising flour)

1⁄4 cup sugar

1 (12-ounce) can beer

1⁄4 to ½ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and beer. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Pour melted butter over mixture. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.

Notes: This recipe makes a hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust, mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring it over the top. Sifting flour for this bread recipe is a must. Most people scoop the 1-cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn the bread into a “hard biscuit.” If you do not have a sifter, lightly spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. Try it the correct way and you will see a difference in the end product.

English Muffin Bread

Reprinted from Cooperative Connections

2 cups milk

½ cup water

2 packages active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

5 to 6 cups flour, divided

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal

Heat milk and water until lukewarm. Add yeast and sugar. Mix in 3 cups flour, baking soda and salt. Add 2 to 3 cups more flour until a stiff dough forms (you should be able to mix all with a spoon - no kneading required). Spoon into two greased bread pans that have been coated with cornmeal. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on top. Let rise for 40 to 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Beer Biscuits

4 cups biscuit mix, such as Bisquick

3 tablespoons sugar

1 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, any brand, at room temperature but not flat

1 egg (optional)

Mix biscuit mix, sugar, beer (and egg, if desired) just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Pat it into a rough rectangle about 3/4” thick. Cut the dough into circles with a 2 3/8-inch biscuit cutter for traditional round biscuits. Or cut in squares or diamonds to avoid having to re-roll scraps. Place bottom-side up on ungreased baking sheet.

Biscuits are rather forgiving and can be baked at the same time you bake another dish in a preheated oven, anywhere from 325 to 450 degrees F. Bake for approximately 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature and how brown you want them.

Sheri Poore grew up on a Day County dairy farm and is a former Tri-State Neighbor editor now living in Sioux Falls. 

Tri-State Neighbor columnist

Sheri Poore grew up on a Day County dairy farm and is a former Tri-State Neighbor editor now living in Sioux Falls.