If there is one thing we are passionate about at the Mariposa Lodge, it’s homemade bread. We make it as frequently and enthusiastically as we can. Here in the Mariposa Lodge kitchen, we have a long standing love affair with homemade bread as we’ve been lucky enough to grow up watching our grandparents + parents baking bread by hand. Serving homemade bread is one of our favorite ways to bring that intentional handcrafted tradition to you!
If you have a dutch oven [ this is the one we've got! ] and a large mixing bowl in your kitchen, there is no reason you can’t make homemade bread for yourself at home. Yes, it really is that easy! Making bread can seem quite intimidating and we get it - we’ve been there too! We’ve outlined the process of bread making as simply and clearly as we can. We are also happy to answer any questions you have...if you think we love baking bread, just try and get us to stop once we start talking about baking bread!
We’ve been making this bread from Life as a Strawberry for years now and the recipe is perfect. We have simplified her process a bit, but the basic recipe outline + ingredients stands as she wrote it! It’s an easy recipe to double and is also very adaptable if you want to add roasted garlic, kalamata olives, dried herbs...your options are endless!
Let’s get baking.
2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Combine yeast, sugar, and *warm water in a large bowl. Let the yeast mixture proof for about 5 minutes until it . looks bubbly + foamy. If after 5 minutes your water mixture looks the same as when you first mixed it all together, dump it and try again! Either you have bad yeast or you killed your yeast and your bread won’t rise. Once proofed, mix in the salt and **flour. Keep an extra half cup of flour close by as you may have to sprinkle in a little extra as you go. Don’t get intimidated here. Dough isn’t scary. It will tell you what it needs more of and what it needs less of. General rule of thumb that we use: If it sticks to your hand, you need more flour and if you have an excess of flour in the bowl, you’ve gone heavy handed with your flour and you either need to work the flour in or add a little more warm water to compensate. You’ll need to get your [ clean! ] hands a little dirty here. Go ahead and knead the dough for a few minutes either in the bowl if it’s big enough or on a clean surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle some flour in the bowl and place dough in the bowl, covering lightly with a tea towel. Set it ***aside and leave it for an hour. After an hour, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 460 degrees. Remove your tea towel from the dough and sprinkle with flour. Gently scrape dough from the sides of the bowl, being careful to not punch the dough down. ****You’ll want to shape your dough into a round loaf by bringing the edges of the dough to the center. Flip the dough over [ seam side down ] and shape into a round loaf. Let loaf rise for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully remove the lid of your dutch oven (it’s going to be hot, hot, hot!!!) and gently place your dough in the dutch oven, seam side up this time, carefully put the hot lid back on your dutch oven and let bake for 25 minutes! After 25 minutes, check your bread - if it’s lightly golden brown, remove the lid and let bake for about 3-5 more minutes. If the bread looks nice and golden after 25 minutes, you are done! Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before diving in headfirst. You’ve done it! You’ve made bread! We knew you could do it.
Once you start baking this bread, you won’t stop. And you shouldn’t stop! Bread from the store doesn’t hold a candle to this homemade creation. We also like it because there are 5 simple ingredients in this bread - next time you are at the store, pick up a loaf of bread and check out all the ingredients used….it really is unsettling. Also, this is a great way to save on plastic! Making your own bread eliminates a substantial amount of plastic packaging those gunk ridden loafs of bread use. Oh! It's easy on the bank account, too - baking bread costs pennies on the dollar. Win/win/winwinwinwinwin. No matter how you spin it, it's a win.
Baking bread is such a humble yet delicious achievement. Let us know if you make this recipe. We are cheering for you!
*When we first started baking bread, we realized we need our water warmer then we initially thought we needed it. On a scale of 1-10 we like to aim for a 7.5-8.
** One thing we had to learn on our own is that depending on the day, the humidity and even the bag/brand of flour you buy, you may need more or less flour then what the recipe calls for. As we said above, we like to keep extra flour around to slowly mix in if the dough feels especially sticky. We also like to add the flour in cup by cup mixing in between cups versus adding the flour in all at once so you don’t get your dough too dry.
***We typically let it rise near the fire [ in the winter! ], or near a window and the sunshine [ all the other seasons of the year! ] as the slight heat will encourage the dough to rise.
****If this sounds confusing, be sure to check out the video Life of a Strawberry created. Their visuals can be helpful!