8021 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
Ph: 314-862-COOK (2665)
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Ask The Chef

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The best food to bake on an icy-cold day is bread. The hot oven helps to heat up the house and the aroma of freshly-baked bread is irresistable. I know, you should let the bread cool after baking, but I can never resist diving into the hot bread and slathering with butter, jam, or cheese.

To achieve the crust, bake the bread on a pizza stone at 425 degrees. Put a pan of water in the oven to create a steamy environment.

Other tips for yeast breads:

  1. Use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour to add more gluten to the dough.
  2. Knead the dough very well to develop the gluten.
  3. Do not add too much flour to the dough, which will make the bread heavy. The bread will taste better if the dough is a little sticky.
  4. Let the dough rise until doubled, but do not over rise. If the dough rises too much, it will deflate when baking.
  5. Slash the bread with a sharp lame right before baking. These cuts produce a beautiful loaf; otherwise, the loaf will blow-out in an unattractive way.  

A Crusty Loaf of Bread

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cups bread flour

Mix together the water, yeast, and honey and let sit for five minutes, until bubbly. Stir in the salt and oil. Use a Danish dough whisk to stir in one cup of flour. Stir in a second cup of flour and mix very well. Turn out onto a rollmat and, adding flour as needed, knead the dough until smooth, about five minutes. Do not add too much flour; it is better if the dough is slightly sticky. Use a bench knife to move the dough around the mat.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Take the dough out of the bowl and form into a ball (use the palms of your hands to round the loaf). Place on a small piece of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone in the oven. Let the dough rise again, about 30-45 minutes. Do not overrise. Place a pan of water in the oven. Carefully slash the bread with a lame. Use a pizza peel to place the dough (still on the parchment paper) in the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Let cool.

To learn more, sign up for upcoming bread classes with Margi Kahn on March 3 or Josh Allen of Companion Baking on April 8.