No more store-bought bread

It sounds impossible, completely impractical and quite frankly, too difficult. After giving this recipe the same criticism, I gave it a shot…and then fell completely in love. Even if you have never made a yeast bread please try this and share your results. I’d love to hear what you think!

A close friend of my parents, John Fitzpatrick, introduced to me this Cooks Illustrated recipe. John is a passionate bread maker and I trust his recipes, I know you will too.


Mise en place
3 Cups all-purpose or bread flour (15 oz. by weight)
1/4 t. yeast
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
3/4 c. + 2 T. (7 fl. oz.)room temp water
1/4 c. + 2 T. beer (fl. 3 oz.) room temp.
1 T. vinegar

Whisk together the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the water, beer and vinegar. Fold together the mixture scraping the dry flour from the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temp for 8 – 18 hours

Lay a large sheet of parchment in a 10 in. skillet pan and spray the paper with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 15 times. Shape the dough into a ball by cupping your hands at the top of the ball and pulling it toward you, repeat 3 – 5 times to shape the ball. Spray the dough lightly with cooking spray. Cover loosely with the plastic wrap and let it rise at room temp for 2 hours or until the dough does not spring back when poked with a finger.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a large dutch oven with the lid on the rack, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. When the bread is done rising lightly flour the top, then using a sharp nife score the top with a 6 inch long slit about 1/2 inch deep. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Lift the parchment and dough into the pot, let the excess parchment hang over the edge. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Reduce the temp to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake 20 – 30 minutes longer or until the bread is a deep brown color. Remove the bread from the pot and let cool at room temp for 2 hours.

Farmhouse Banana Bread

I had two ripe bananas on the counter and with the cool weather we’ve been having I decided to turn the oven on and make banana bread. This recipe is from one of my mother’s many Iowa farm cook books and unfortunately I don’t have the originators name. I changed the mixing method a little bit to help lighten the texture and also added a tiny amount of vanilla. I love this bread because it is simple and you are not overwhelmed by any one ingredient. The butter is balanced with the banana and sweetness of the sugar to make a tender bread that reminds me of home. Enjoy!

Mise en place
2 c. flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. sugar
2 – 3 bananas
2 eggs
½ c. butter milk*
1 t. vanilla

*You can make a quick buttermilk by combining 1 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup and fill with milk to the 1/2 c. line with milk to make 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes allowing the vinegar to work its magic.

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Wipe the a loaf pan with the butter wrapper or spray with canola oil. Dust with flour if you are not using a non-stick pan.
  • Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and stir with a whisk to incorporate.
  • Combine the eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  • In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the bananas and mix until well combined
  • Next add the dry and wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula and begin with the flour mix, add 1/2 c. and mix until barely combined. Next add some wet and mix until just combined. Keep going until all of the wet and dry are combined.
  • Pan and bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the loaf is barely firm.
Banana Bread
Banana Bread