For carb lovers out there, the Holy Grail of bread is flavorful, toothy, crusty bread. Well, here's your grail - a very simple and easy bread recipe that will change the way you think about baking. The two keys here are not getting the water too hot (it'll kill the yeast) and remembering to whip up the dough the night before.
Pro tip: put a PostIt note (tm) on your wine bottle on Saturday night, reminding you to make the dough before you go to bed.
- 1/4 t yeast
- 1 1/2 C warm water (approx. 100 degrees)
- 3 C flour
- 1 1/2 t salt
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12-18 at room temp, about 70 degrees.
Pro tip: when mixing the dough, blend in 1-2 T of fresh rosemary to make rosemary bread or 3-4 T of slivered kalmata olives to make olive bread.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest about 15 minutes.
Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour and place the dough on it (roughly shaped into a loaf shape) and dust with more flour. Let rise 1-2 hours. When it's ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475. Put in a stoneware loaf pan (sprinkle bottom with some corn meal). When the dough is ready, carefully remove the loaf pan from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pan and with a sharp knife, make a few diagonal slits in the loaf.
Pro tip: sprinkle the top with a pinch or two of kosher salt.
Bake for 30 min and check - rotate pan. Bake another 15-20 min until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Serve with some high quality (not cooking) olive oil and enjoy!