I’ve been dreaming of owning a Dutch oven (cast iron pot) just so I could make this bread but that didn’t justify the price of it in my head. I can bake perfectly good bread without the Dutch oven, thank you very much. So, when my daughter surprised me with it for Christmas I was overjoyed. We will ignore the fact that it took whole three months before I actually baked the bread and instead focus on the recipe.
How to make artisan bread? Real simple. You make the dough without getting your fingers all sticky and let it sit for at least 12 hours up to 24. Ok, so this part required some calculation and timing. It’s me; I like to have a plan ahead of time. I let it sit overnight and gave myself plenty of time in the morning before I tended to it. Nice and relaxed, no pressure whatsoever.
The recipe calls for only 3 cups of flour and I was a bit leery that it would be the size of a bread roll rather than feed a family, but it is just perfect. The crusty outside and soft insides remind me of breads from back home; there was that familiarity when biting into it – almost like my teeth remembered the times they sank into the warm freshness on my way home from the local bakery. Needless to say, this is my favorite bread recipe and well worth the price of that Dutch oven. If you don’t own a cast iron pot, you can still bake the dough in a loaf thin, try or whatever you want to bake it in. It’ll still be a pretty good bread though I can’t guarantee the same crust.
3 cups unbleached, unsifted all-purpose Flour
1 ½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon granulated Instant Yeast**
1 ½ cup Water, room temperature
1 tablespoon Sugar
**Instant yeast doesn’t have to be activated ahead of time. I used Active-Dry yeast but activated it with a pinch of sugar and ¼ cup warm water before I added it to other ingredients.
Whisk together flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a very large mixing bowl. The size matters in this instance – dough will rise and you don’t want to find it on your counter some 12 hours later.
Add water and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. No need to overwork it, but try not to leave big lumps. The dough will be sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with Pam, cooking oil spray. Let it sit for 12-18 hours but DO NOT REFRIGERATE!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the Dutch oven with the lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Make sure the lid has a metal cap, otherwise if it’s plastic it will melt or even worse, blow-up in that hot oven.
As soon as you put the pot in the oven, put the dough on a heavily floured surface and shape it into a ball. The dough is now stickier, so it won’t be a perfect ball but that is ok. Do not overwork it as it will deflate the air bubbles. Cover with the plastic wrap that was over the bowl. Let it rest for 30 minutes while your pot is pre-heating.
Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Flour your hands, pick up the dough and drop it carefully into the pot (that is very hot!). Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the pot (I used two metal spatulas) and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Told you it was super simple and totally worth the wait.
This recipe is featured on What’s for Dinner.
I have submitted this recipe to The Recipe Hunter for the February 2017 Share and Inspire Others challenge.
Looking forward to connecting with you soon.
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