Have you ever had fresh baked bread? Like, still warm, fresh? If not, prepare yourself to be amazed. If you have, still be ready to be amazed because you are about to make some awesome homemade bread, from scratch, with no sweat in the kitchen.
Homemade Crusty Bread – makes one loaf (adapted from here)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rapid rise or instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix (I use a spatula here, works great) until a “shaggy” mixture forms. The author of this recipe called the dough shaggy. That is the best description for this dough, seriously. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set on top of the fridge for 12-18 hours. I make mine and at night and bake it the next morning.
Has it been 12 hours? Okay, now preheat oven to 450F. When your oven reaches 450, put a dutch oven/lidded cast iron into the oven and let it heat up for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pull the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. It should now be twice the size it was last night. Shape it into a ball, or loaf, shape. Cover with the plastic wrap from the bowl and let it sit on the counter while the dutch oven heats up.
After the pot baked for 30 minutes, carefully take it out of the oven. Plop the dough into the pot, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Once it’s done, take the lid off and return it to the oven for 10-15 more minutes.
Pull out your pot and marvel at that gorgeous loaf of bread you just baked!
Even though it will be really hard to resist, let the bread cool for a while. It will cut a lot easier. And will still be warm on the inside, promise.
I love this recipe because you can experiment with it too! Try adding cheese and spices to the bread! YUM. My favorite variation so far is cinnamon raison. Yeah. Two words: French Toast. Try it.
Oh, and you can double this recipe, and give a loaf away to a friend. Or a relative. Or someone you want to impress.