Hello friends, it’s Nelson at the keyboard. Today we’re doing something a little different. Liz and I typically post recipes that I’ve come up with from scratch, or that my mom cooked for me during my childhood, or those which I’ve modified to create my own version of a popular dish. Today, however, I’m using a recipe exactly as I found it!
This recipe belongs to Chef Michael Smith. For those of you who don’t know him (as if), he’s one of Canada’s most well-known celebrity chefs. Chef Michael Smith has been on countless popular TV shows (ex. Food Network Canada) and he is Canada’s most popular cookbook author.
One of the things I admire most about this chef, is his “recipe-less” approach to cooking. He encourages people to get in the kitchen and experiment. There’s less focus on the recipe and more focus on working with what you have on hand—keeping it simple and delicious! This approach inspires me because I’m not a trained chef or cook. I improve my skills by getting in the kitchen and trying new things. Sometimes it works…and sometimes it doesn’t…and that’s okay (our local pizza place is on speed dial). When a new dish I’m testing doesn’t work (and it happens), well then I know what NOT to do next time :-).
We approached Chef Michael Smith to ask him for permission to share his recipe in one of our blog posts. We were thrilled when he very generously agreed!
For those of you starting out in the food blogging world, remember if you’re posting a recipe that belongs to someone else you must always ask for permission and credit them. It’s the right thing to do. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
In today’s case, I did follow a recipe. I’ve been making Chef Michael Smith‘s Country Bread for a long time. I first found it online and then Liz gave me one of his cookbooks that also had the recipe. This is by far my favourite bread to make at home, and the family loves it! I guess you can call us bread-eating pros 🙂 As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we have Portuguese roots, so we’ve had our fair share of bread/carbs. Is that a bad thing??? I think not!
Baking bread is something that scares a lot of home cooks. I read about this all the time and I felt the same way until I finally tried it. The beauty of this particular recipe is that in addition to being incredibly delicious, it’s also incredibly easy to make! In a nutshell, you throw a few ingredients in a bowl, mix them together (no standmixer or big muscles required), wait a while and bake. That’s it… it’s that easy! There’s also a bonus to this bread; as far as bread goes, it’s a pretty healthy one. You can’t argue with those benefits.
If you’ve never baked bread before, trust us… this is the recipe to start with! So, roll up your sleeves, turn up the music, bake a loaf of homemade bread, and eat well friends!
We want to acknowledge and thank Chef Michael Smith for letting us share this wonderful recipe with our readers on our blog.
Chef Michael Smith’s Country Bread © Chef Michael Smith
- 3 cups (750 mL) of all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 cup (250 mL) of whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (125 mL) any multigrain mix (see variations)
- ½ heaping teaspoon (3 mL) of active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of salt
- 2¼ (560 mL) cups of warm water
- In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together, evenly distributing the salt and yeast throughout the flour. Pour in the warm water and stir with the handle of a wooden spoon until a moist dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, 1 or 2 minutes in total.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 8-10 hours. The dough will double in size and bubble, and long elastic gluten strands will form without laborious kneading.
- Dust the dough lightly with a bit of flour. Oil hands lightly and, with your fingertips, gather dough from the outside edges to the middle, knocking it down into a loose ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a few moments until a tight ball forms. Toss the ball back in the bowl and lightly coat with a splash of vegetable oil, turning to evenly cover.
- Gently roll the dough into a thin log that fits end to end in a lightly oiled 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan and, without covering, rest it a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will double in size once more.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 °F (220 °C). When the dough is ready, bake for 45 minutes.
Chef Michael Smith's Country Bread © Chef Michael Smith
The recipe asks for 2¼ cups of water. Please try Chef Michael Smith's quantities first. In our case, the consistency was a bit wet and a little hard to work with. This could be because of the type or brand of flour we used. We ended up using ⅛ (2 Tbs) less. We used unbleached Robin Hood brand for our all-purpose flour.
In our case, our little guy is very picky and doesn't like seeing "unidentified ingredients". Instead of the multigrain mix, I used rolled oats. These pretty much disappear into the bread after it's baked and he has no idea they're in there.
Chef Michael Smith uses a splash of vegetable oil to coat the dough. In our case, I used olive oil and this also worked nicely.
I made Michael Smith’s Country Bread, although the recipe seems to vary depending upon where one finds it. The yeast called for in the recipe I followed was 1/4 tsp. I used Red River Cereal for the grains.
Followed the recipe exactly. Not much of a rise while resting in the pan, although it certainly rose well enough in the mixing bowl.
It was one of the most disappointing loaves of bread I have ever made, decidedly not very bread-like, even though it smelled good enough while baking. Very little oven spring. A bit of a “gummy-flavour”, although I would not say doughy. It just doesn’t taste like good bread. How a loaf toasts matters very much to me, and this toast is very underwhelming. Can’t imagine making this bread frequently, or even ever again.
Nelson Cardoso says
Hi Lily, I’m so sorry about your experience. We love this bread at our home. The kids often ask me to make it. The first few slices are gone as soon as it cools, and then toast for a few days after that. There are a lot of factors that come into play when making bread. It could be the flour quality, the water, the humidity, etc. We tried to explain the instruction to the best of our ability, but may have missed something to make your experience better. Our apologies. Take care.