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Basic Bread Recipe

Draft 3

In my first year of college I gained1 the moniker of “bread guy.”2 Now, this was not an unforeseeable outcome. I baked3 bread almost every day, and tended to have the same problem: by the time I finish making bread,4 I don’t really want it anymore, since I would’ve been smelling it for the time it took to cook.5,6

This problem should have an easy resolution. I would just give it to my friends!7 Of course, sometimes my so called “friends” wouldn’t want to eat the bread I made.8

I know, It’s ridiculous to me too. Who wouldn’t want bread?

Nonetheless, I would need to get rid of the bread another way. My next step would be to find the people who occupy the hard to define mental space of people you know, but have no emotions attached to.9 Once I found them,10 I would also offer bread. That also didn’t have a 100% success rate, which hurt less.

Sometimes, I would just walk around campus and hand it out11 to whoever I saw, and sometimes I would just leave it in public spaces near people who volunteered to dispose of it for me. Nonetheless, I made a lot of bread and got known for it.

Now, the moniker served another purpose.12 The CS13 department14 at Grinnell College15was16 growing rapidly, so there were many students who might assume I was related to a member of the department.17 I assumed18 that being known as “slightly odd person who feeds us” was better than being known as “child of very odd, grumpy, and sarcastic person,” if only because I was being described as my own entity in the first.

But anyways, back to what’s important: bread. My recipe is adapted from this website’s book. I tend to make the dough in a 3 gallon ice cream container from Kilwins, as my family somehow acquired many of them. It exists below.

Basic Bread Dough:

Ingredients:
5 pounds flour19
8-9 cups water20
2 heaping tablespoons yeast21
2 lightly heaping tablespoons kosher salt22
Note: if making a second batch, if you leave the dough that is leftover in the container, you can skip the yeast.23

To Make Dough:
Add all ingredients together.24
Mix until it seems to be one coherent blob of dough.25
Cover, but not airtightly, and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size.26
Then, cover airtight27 for up to two weeks28 The longer you let it sit, the more sour it will be.29

To Cook:
Sprinkle flour on top of dough.30
Pull out a piece of dough the volume of bread you want.31
Generously coating with flour, gently fold it over itself until smooth everywhere except one spot.32
After placing the bread with the spot down,33 quickly score the surface of the dough with a razor blade, aiming for around half an inch deep.34
Put onto a stone in an oven preheated for around 30 minutes at 350 F35 with a stone and a baking tray36 inside, the tray beneath the stone.
Pour water onto the baking tray.37
Let cook until bottom is hollow when tapped, or properly golden brown.38
If in doubt, a few extra minutes never hurts, and often helps.39
Pull out and let cool.40

Draft 2

In my first year of college I gained the moniker of “bread guy,”41 Now, this was not an unforeseeable outcome. I baked42 bread almost every day, and tended to have the same problem: by the time I finish making bread, I don’t really want it anymore, since I would’ve been smelling it for the time it took to cook.43,44

This problem should have an easy resolution. I would just give it to my friends! Of course, sometimes my so called “friends” wouldn’t want to eat the bread I made.

I know, It’s ridiculous to me too. I would need to get rid of the bread another way. My next step would be to find the people who occupy the space of “people I have no feelings towards but am aware of their existence and believe they feel the same about me.”45 Once I found them,46 I would also offer bread. Sometimes, I would just walk around campus and hand it out47 to whoever I saw, and sometimes I would just leave it in public spaces near people who volunteered to dispose of it for me. Nonetheless, I made a lot of bread and got known for it.

Now, the moniker served another purpose. The CS48 department49 at Grinnell College50was51 growing rapidly, there were many students who might assume I was related to a member of the department.52 And, I figured being known as “slightly odd person who feeds us” was better than being known as “child of very odd, grumpy, and sarcastic person,” if only because I was being described as my own entity in the first.

So, bread. My recipe is adapted from this website’s book. I tend to make the dough in a 3 gallon ice cream container from Kilwins, as my family somehow acquired many of them. It exists below.

Basic Bread Dough:

Ingredients:
5 pounds flour
8-9 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons yeast
2 lightly heaping tablespoons kosher salt
Note: if making a second batch, if you leave the dough that is leftover in the container, you can skip the yeast

To Make Dough:
Add all ingredients together.
Mix until it seems to be one coherent blob of dough.
Cover, but not airtightly, and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size.
Then, cover airtight53 for up to two weeks54 The longer you let it sit, the more sour it will be.

To Cook:
Sprinkle flour on top of dough.
Pull out a piece of dough the volume of bread you want.
Generously coating with flour, gently fold it over itself until smooth everywhere except one spot.
After placing the bread with the spot down,55 quickly score the surface of the dough with a razor blade, aiming for around half an inch deep.
Put onto a stone in an oven preheated for around 30 minutes at 350 F56 with a stone and a baking tray57 inside, the tray beneath the stone.
Pour water onto the baking tray.58
Let cook until bottom is hollow when tapped, or properly golden brown.59
Note: I guess you can add extra water whenever, I just don’t because I’m lazy.
If in doubt, a few extra minutes never hurts, and often helps.
Pull out and let cool.

Draft 1

My freshman year of college, I was nicknamed “the bread guy,”60 Now, this was not an unforeseeable outcome. I baked bread almost every day, and ran into my usual problem with baking bread. By the time the bread would be finished cooking, I wouldn’t really want to eat it anymore, since I would’ve been smelling it for the time it took to cook.61

So, I would need to get rid of it somehow. Thankfully, instead of just setting it on fire,62 or otherwise wasting it, I would give it to friends. Of course, sometimes my so called “friends” wouldn’t want to eat the bread I made.

I know! It’s ridiculous to me too. So, I would need to get rid of the bread another way. Generally this meant finding the random people you know that you wouldn’t consider friends63 and offering them some fresh baked bread. Sometimes, I would just walk around campus and hand it out64 to whoever I saw, and sometimes I would just leave it in public spaces near people who volunteered to dispose of it for me. Nonetheless, I made a lot of bread and got known for it.

There was a motive behind getting this nickname. I knew that, since the CS65 department66 was67 growing rapidly, there were many students who might assume I was related to a member of the department. And, I figured being known as “slightly odd person who feeds us edible home made food” was better than being known as “child of very odd, grumpy, and sarcastic person,” if only because I was being described as my own entity in the first.

So, without further ado: my basic bread recipe. It is adapted from this website’s book. I tend to make the dough in a 3 gallon ice cream container from Kilwins, as my family somehow acquired many of them.

Basic Bread Dough: Ingredients:
5 pounds flour
8-9 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons yeast
2 lightly heaping tablespoons kosher salt

To Make Dough:
Add all ingredients together.
Mix until it seems to be one coherent blob of dough.
Cover, but not totally, and let sit at room temperature for a time lasting between: just barely doubled68 or up to 2 weeks.69
The longer you let it sit, the more sour it will be.

To Cook:
Sprinkle flour on top of dough.
Pull out a piece of dough the volume of bread you want.
Generously coating with flour, gently fold it over itself until smooth everywhere except one spot.
Putting that spot down,70 quickly score the surface of the dough with a razor blade, aiming for around half an inch deep.
Put onto a stone in an oven that has been heating for around 30 minutes at 350 F71 with a stone inside, and a baking tray72 beneath it.
Pour water onto the baking tray.
Let cook until bottom is hollow when tapped, or properly golden brown.73
If in doubt, a few extra minutes never hurts, and often helps.
Pull out and let cool.


  1. and lost

  2. the nickname apparently spread outside of my friendgroup(s), and when I’ve mentioned that I used to bake a lot of bread, I’ve had college friends exclaim “Oh! So you were the bread guy!” and then express displeasure over having missed meeting me until I became boring. (Dear Mom, I apparently was cool)

  3. I really feel like the past tense of bake should be “boke”

  4. or a lot of things if I’m being honest

  5. apparently many people feel the opposite about these sorts of things

  6. no, despite the fact that I’ve made upwards of 50 gallons of bread (because how else would you measure bread dough?) I still don’t know how long it takes to cook. It led to a problem this summer

  7. Yay friends!

  8. and wow it hurts the ego

  9. I really hope that’s a group of people others have in their mental spaces

  10. or messaged them

  11. more often when I made little breads (which are objectively adorable)

  12. yay for forethought and multiple advantages

  13. Computer Science

  14. I really hope I’m using the right nomenclature here, I wouldn’t want another snarky musing written about me

  15. Best school in Iowa(the best state)!

  16. is?

  17. not incorrectly

  18. foolishly

  19. yes, one bag of flour. I cook on the principle of “needing more than two tools to measure everything is a sign of poorly scaled recipes”

  20. depending on humidity and how long you plan to let the bread sit

  21. or not. It’s yeast, it grows. The more you add the faster it grows. The less, the slower

  22. wow that’s such a vague measurement. I guess slightly better than “enough” but really, just add enough that the dough tastes right.(Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for injuries resulting in dough consumption). Apparently raw flour is dangerous. But, what’s life without a little danger?

  23. also your dough will start more sour, which if you want that is good

  24. should I have said: add all ingredients to container? Eh

  25. blob is a very technical term

  26. because buildup of pressure can mean your house being covered in dough. According to many sources, that’s a bad thing

  27. or not if you’re lazy

  28. I assume you could go longer, but you know, it’s bread dough, it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s gone bad

  29. duh

  30. it makes me feel so cool

  31. i.e. loaf size, roll size, big loaf size, small loaf size, big roll size... (I’m not the best at knowing the size of things)

  32. it’s hard to explain but easy to do

  33. generally on parchment paper

  34. the most fun part

  35. no C because I don’t use metric when I bake

  36. I recommend one you don’t particularly care about

  37. which is why no to the caring

  38. if you grab the loaves enough the heat stops hurting

  39. don’t take that too far and just leave for 3 hours. Once it starts looking browner than gold it’s almost certainly done

  40. mmm, bread

  41. the nickname apparently spread outside of my friendgroup(s), and when I’ve mentioned that I used to bake a lot of bread, I’ve had college friends exclaim “Oh! So you were the bread guy!” and then express displeasure over never having met me. (Dear Mom, I have made friends)

  42. I really feel like this should be “boke”

  43. apparently many people feel the opposite about these sorts of things

  44. no, despite the fact that I’ve made upwards of 50 gallons of bread (because how else would you measure bread dough?) I still don’t know how long it takes to cook. It led to a problem this summer

  45. I really hope that’s a group of people others have in their mental spaces

  46. or messaged them

  47. more often when I made little breads (which are objectively adorable)

  48. Computer Science

  49. I really hope I’m using the right nomenclature here, I wouldn’t want another snarky musing written about me

  50. Best school in Iowa(the best state)!

  51. is?

  52. not incorrectly

  53. or not if you’re lazy

  54. I assume you could go longer, but you know, it’s bread dough, it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s gone bad

  55. generally on parchment paper

  56. no C because I don’t use metric when I bake

  57. I recommend one you don’t particularly care about

  58. which is why no to the caring

  59. if you do it enough it stops hurting

  60. the nickname apparently spread outside of my friendgroup(s) even, and when I’ve mentioned that I used to bake a lot of bread, I’ve had college friends exclaim “Oh! So you were the bread guy!” I promise it’s real

  61. no, despite the fact that I’ve made upwards of 50 gallons of bread (don’t ask why that’s my measurement) I still don’t know how long it takes to cook. It led to a problem this summer

  62. which happened once, and was a complete accident

  63. I really hope that’s a group of people others have in their mental spaces

  64. more often when I made little breads (which are objectively adorable)

  65. Computer Science

  66. I really hope I’m using the right nomenclature here, I wouldn’t want another snarky musing written about me

  67. is?

  68. approx. 4-8 hours

  69. don’t ask how I know

  70. generally on parchment paper

  71. no C because I don’t use metric when I bake

  72. I recommend one you don’t particularly care about

  73. if you do it enough it stops hurting