Easy all purpose bread dough
I love good sourdough and have my favourite bakeries where I get it. Now and then I venture into making a sourdough starter myself, keeping it going for a few months until we leave for extended travels, and bake sourdough bread with my own starter. At other times I may just want a quick bread that doesn’t require a long rise and overnight preparation. When that happens I usually make this quick and easy bread dough, good for flat breads, dinner rolls etc. The flat breads are best cooked at the last minute and I have, on occasion, recruited guests to help flip them on the grill or in the pan just before we are ready to sit down at the table.
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
Add water and olive oil and begin mixing at low speed. You will need to stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the flour from the sides of the bowl to help it incorporate into the dough that is forming around the dough hook.
Add the remaining flour little by needed as needed to create a smooth dough that pulls from the sides of the bowl. Don’t add too much flour.
Let the machine knead the dough for 6 minutes. Pull the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it comes together into a ball. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
Oil a bowl with a little olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. If you have time, cover with plastic and place the bowl in the fridge to slow down the rising and help the dough develop flavour. If you want to proceed right away leave on the counter for a couple fo hours until it doubles in size.
The dough is ready when it doubles in size. To check if the dough is ready push your finger in gently, if the indentation remains the dough is ready. If it springs right back, let it rise longer.
Portion the dough into orange size balls for flat bread or small balls for dinner rolls.
Roll each ball under your palm on the counter in circular motion until a tight ball forms. Set aside on floured parchment until doubles in size.
When ready, you can make a decorative cut on top of each bun with a sharp knife.
Slide the sheet with the buns onto a pizza stone in the oven and bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove and let cool.
For flatbreads or pizza:
Roll out the dough into desired shape, it doesn’t have to be round, irregular shapes are fine.
If you are making pizza, proceed with topping and baking at 500ºF.
For flatbreads, heat a pan or a griddle until very hot.
Gently lay each dough over the pan and cook about 2 minutes until the dough bubbles up. turn over and cook on the other side until lightly browned in spots.
Remove from the pan, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt fresh thyme leaves.