I am not a fabulous bread maker. I'm improving and I'm learning. Possibly that is also part of my problem -- trying different techniques all of the time, trying different recipes all of the time -- so, like a bad scientific experiment, I rarely have a "control" scenario. Anyway, the good news is there IS a bread recipe that I have hardly ever failed at. It was given to me at my wedding shower by a close college friend who's mother is Danish and father is an American -- and has spent most of her life traveling back and forth between the two countries. I don't know if it's a Danish recipe -- but the bread sure tastes better to me than typical American fare. The outside is crunchy and the inside in melt-in-your mouth, knock-your-socks-off delicious. Peter Reinhart, eat your heart out. Here it is:
Karen's Homemade Bread
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Makes 2 big tall loaves of bread - use large bread pans.
10 Cups Flour (I used King Arthur Bread Flour)
1/4 oz yeast (1 T) - I used "instant" yeast
4 Cups room temperature water (for instant yeast) or lukewarm for "regular active dry yeast"
1 T salt
1/2 Cup olive oil
Blend 2 cups of flour w/ yeast, then add salt, water, oil -- and rest of flour. Knead the dough (I used a dough hook this time) cover and let rise for 3 hours. (this recipe doesn't call for a second rise in the bowl, but I did one this time -- I've done it both ways, and they are both good) Make 2 loaves out of the dough. Grease bread pan with olive oil -- put loaves into the pans then "pencil" (which basically means drizzle) bread with olive oil. Let rise in pans until they rise up over the lip of the pan. Bake for 1/2 hour in pans, then remove from pans and continue baking right on the oven rack for 3/4 of an hour. Let cool before you taste this delicious bread.
This recipe doesn't have details for the new bread baker, but a great recource to get some basic info is at The Fresh Loaf .