Ever watch Top Chef or Iron Chef and wonder how in the WORLD they just whip that junk up out of thin air when they are using a "surprise ingredient"? I used to as well, but then all the wonder was dashed when I found out they find out the day before what the ingredient is and they actually are allowed a test run the day before. Lame!
Us REAL at home cooks don't always have that option, and more than anything else our "surprise" ingredient ends up being whatever we have in the house because we were out of what we THOUGHT we had. But ONE thing that most people can think of and whip up out of thin air is a standard loaf of bread. I have my grandmother's bread recipe memorized but that takes even MORE time than the one I am about to share.... This requires no "proofing" just a 30 minute rest for the dough, if you aren't vegan, you can use honey rather than sugar but the most crucial thing you need to be sure of is that you always have good yeast in the house and you're golden. This makes a HUGE beautiful 1.5 lb loaf of bread. Let's get started!
Vegan Standard Loaf
4 c. organic all purpose flour
1 c. organic spelt flour
1 3/4 c. water (110 degrees)
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. quick rise/bread machine yeast
2 T. organic fair trade cane sugar
vegan shortening or butter to grease bread pan
1.5 lb bread pan
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Pour warm water, sugar and yeast into a standing mixer with dough hook attachment on. Toss in 3 cups of your AP flour, your salt and the cup of spelt flour. Turn the mixer on the lowest setting and let it go until it looks like it is all thoroughly mixed together. Toss in the remaining cup of flour and let it go until no dough is sticking to the side of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
When the "rest" is over TURN OFF YOUR OVEN!! Form your dough into a loaf shape, toss it into the loaf pan and put it in the oven to rise. Allow the bread to rise 45 minutes or until it doubles in size. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees while the loaf is still in there and after it hits 350 allow to bake another 30 minutes OR until the bread sounds "hollow" when you tap the top with your finger.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Serve warm or allow to cool completely before using for sandwiches.
Toss in your choice of herbs with the flour before mixing. (I use rosemary and sliced Kalamata olives in this recipe sometimes and form it into long baguette looking loaves and slice slashes in the top for an extra bit of "flare".