A no mess, no fuss approach to bread making

There is no substitute for freshly baked bread. Who can resist the smell of bread baking in the oven? But few people really want to spend hours preparing the dough, kneading it and spreading flour everywhere. It's all too tempting to go out and spend $5 or $6 on store-bought bread which may not even be freshly baked and most likely is packaged in non-recyclable plastic. On the other hand, this recipe shouldn't cost more than 50c per loaf and won't take you more than 5 minutes to prepare.

I'm extremely lazy when it comes to baking but since I love freshly baked bread I wanted a recipe that was so simple it is barely even a recipe at all! If you feel the same way, read on! This is bread like our ancestors used to make. Simple, versatile and extremely tasty. The dough can be used to make all sorts of varieties of bread and even desserts. You too can make delicious bread in just a few minutes of preparation time and with no mess and no fuss.

- Water (3 cups, lukewarm)
- Yeast (1 packet of active dry yeast from the shops - about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
- Salt (the better quality the salt, the better the taste!)
- Flour (6 cups, white or wholemeal)

- Wooden Spoon
- Large Bowl
- Bread baking tin


Making the dough (this recipe will make approximately 2 loaves):
- Put the 3 cups of lukewarm water in the bowl, followed by one packet of active dry yeast and about a tablespoon of salt.
- Mix in the flour gradually and stir it with the wooden spoon until it is well mixed in and not overly sticky. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Cover with a tea-towel, lid or plate and leave for around 4 hours to rise. It will rise by around 60-100%
The dough is now ready to use but you may wish to leave it in the refrigerator for an hour or two in order to make it easier to handle.

Baking the bread:
- Grease the baking tin.
- Rip about half of the dough from the mix and put it in the bread tin evenly. Leave to rise for about an hour or so before baking.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit (230 degrees celsius).
- Bake for 30 minutes

The bread will cook evenly throughout and have a crisp, crunchy brown crust. You can quite easily slice the bread while it's still warm–in my house the bread doesn't last longer than a few minutes before being totally devoured so you may want to bake two loaves.

You can make all sorts of breads with this simple recipe. Add your favourite seeds, whole grains or herbs. You can even use the dough to make a pizza base. Perhaps you want a dessert? No problem. Take a chunk of dough, wrap it around your favourite chocolate and pan fry it for a few minutes either side. Delicious with ice-cream!

Feel free to post any questions or variations of this technique. Perhaps you would like to post a comment with your favourite recipe. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy being liberated from bread wrapped in plastic and now will be spending more time eating freshly baked bread than making it!