OK, so I am browsing my favorites bar yesterday (like for the first time in weeks!!!) and come across this fabulous bread recipe from Deb, at Homespun Living.
Seeings as I had recently purchased this fabulous imitation LeCreuset enamel coated cast iron pot at Macy's (Martha Stewarts new line in the sweetest turquoise blue!), I said to myself:
"Self...You need to try this...like today!"
And you, my friends, are going to reap the benefits!
This was originally featured in the New York Times a while back, and you can GOOGLE it and find far better instructions than you will get here(even a video!)...but hey...this is where you are right this minute, so I am going to bless you with MY photos and instructions!
1/4 tsp active dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast)
1 1/2 cups (or a bit more) of very warm water
3 cups bread flour (or all purpose if that is what you have)
1 1/2 teas. salt I use kosher)
In large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add flour and salt, stir till blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Wet, even.(see photo above) Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest 18-24 hours, room temp, about 70 degrees. I put mine in my oven with the oven light on. Seemed to do the trick.
Here is the dough after 20 hours, foamy, bubbly, and very sour-doughy smelling.
YUM...I love that smell.
Lightly flour a work surface and pour dough on it. Sprinkle with a bit more flour and turn a couple of times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 min.
So far, so good, right?
And easy, yes?
Generously coat a clean , cotton(NOT terrycloth!) dishtowel with flour, cornmeal, or bran. (I used a mix of flour and cornmeal) Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, gently shape it into a ball and place on coated towel. Dust top of dough with more of the same you just used on bottom towel. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.
At least 20 min(I did 40 min.) before dough is ready, heat oven to 475. (I did 450 as that is what some of the recipes say, and my Martha Stewart lid knob is only good to 450) Put a 6-8 qt. heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats. After pot is REALLY hot (like I said, I kept it in there for 40 min.) and dough has risen, carefully remove pot from oven, lift off lid, and slide your hand under the towel and turn dough over into the pot, seam side up. Dough will lose it's shape a bit, but no worries. Just give the pan a bit of a shake, slap that cover back on and stick it back in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned.
There it is.
Remove from dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least an hour before slicing.
No worries. It will fall right out of the pan.
And you will have the most exquisite loaf of bread that has ever come out of your oven.
Crunchy, thin crust. And tender, full of those holes, on the inside.
Just like the European bakeries we have heard about, but most of us have never been privileged to shop at.
As a side note, this recipe can be messed around with. I have read about different combinations of flours being used, as well as the addition of nuts and seeds. One commenter said they used the dough for some of the best pizza they had ever had!
I have another loaf in the oven, even as I blog. Perhaps over the weekend I will try the pizza recipe.
When I find something I love, I beat it to death!