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John””s Easy Yeast Bread
This recipe comes to us courtesy of a long-time King Arthur friend, John Dyall. Mr. Dyall has been passing recipes and baking wisdom along to us for years from his home in England — always beautifully written out in longhand. In these days of instant communication and emails that disappear into the ether as soon as you””ve read them, it””s a pleasure to get a real paper letter in the mailbox; one that””s traveled across the sea to reach us, and can be kept and re-read time and time again.

John titles this bread “Odd-Method Bread,” and it””s true it””s not prepared in the usual manner. We start by combining cold water, boiling water, and sour cream to come up with the perfect yeast-friendly temperature. Sugar, salt, yeast, and flour are mixed in with a spoon, and then the bread is kneaded using one hand, right in the bowl, for just 10 to 20 seconds. After a 10-minute rest, it””s kneaded for another 10 to 20 seconds; the process is repeated once more, and then we segue into the more standard rise, shape, rise, bake.

The result? A beautiful, high-rising loaf, firm-textured and “springy,” perfect for slicing. With its slight tang from the sour cream, it makes wonderful toast (or French toast, or grilled cheese, or croutons…) Thank you, John; as always, you””ve sent us a winner.
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2/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons orange juice or additional cold water*
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (full-fat preferred)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
*Use the additional liquid ONLY if you””re using whole wheat flour.
1) Combine the cold water, boiling water, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2) Stir in the sour cream, then the yeast.
3) Stir in the flour. The dough may seem quite dry at first; work it with your hands to bring it together.
4) Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
5) Knead the dough, on a lightly oiled counter or right in the bowl, for 10 to 20 seconds. If you””re kneading in the bowl, just push it vigorously against the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead it again for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat the process once more; you will have kneaded the dough three times.
6) Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
7) Gently deflate the dough, and place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise until it””s crowned about 1″ over the rim of the pan; this should take about an hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
8) Uncover the bread, and bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, until it””s golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Run a stick of butter over the top, if desired, for a soft, buttery crust. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
10) Store the bread well wrapped, at room temperature.
Yield: one large sandwich loaf.

Recipe summary
Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 12 mins.
Baking time:
40 mins. to 45 mins.
Total time:
3 hrs 20 mins. to 3 hrs 27 mins.
1 large sandwich loaf

Tips from our bakers
Why add orange juice if you””re making whole wheat bread? We find that the orange juice, rather than lending any flavor of its own, tempers any potential bitterness from the whole wheat.

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