I did it.
I finally baked a loaf of bread that I am proud of.
Third time’s a charm.
I only hope Dave will give me a few props as well, particularly because he scoffed at the amount of yeast, length of time, and oven temperature. Sometimes, though, I just like following a recipe.
This is a very slow-rising bread with only four ingredients. Four! You have these in your cupboard. Make this bread. It is a delightfully crusty loaf that will have you imagining you are in France sipping red wine and eating a hunk of cheese.
Easy Crusty Bread
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 cups flour (I used half wheat, half all purpose)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- extra flour for dusting
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
- 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 for about 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 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 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
I made only a few changes to the recipe I found on motherearthnews.com. Dave knows best….I’m certain if I would have baked the bread as long as the recipe called for (45-50 minutes) at such a high temperature (475), I would have had a burnt and blackened loaf of bread.
I went grocery shopping today (Yay, payday!), spent way too much money (Boo, payday), and when I came home, I sliced off a nice hunk of bread to try. It may need a bit extra flavor next time, but the texture was almost like a ciabatta. I’m glad I finally made a loaf of bread I could buy from a bakery!
After I put the groceries away, I made and separated a giant bowl of homemade trail mix into snack bags for next week.
Barbara’s Puffins, mixed nuts, peanuts, goldfish, raisins, craisins, freeze dried strawberries, and mini chocolate gems.
Then I made some Lemon muffins to put in the freezer for Dave’s breakfasts. They will be easy for him to take on the road or eat in the morning if he’s feeling hungry.
I used a Lemon Poppyseed muffin recipe from Joy the Baker. My only adaptation was to split the mix in half right before adding the poppyseeds. Then, I added a tbsp of poppyseeds to one half of the mixture and a handful of blueberries and chopped walnuts to the other half for a little variety. After they cool, I’ll pop them into the freezer.
Since Dave won’t be home for at least an hour yet, I’m going to do Bob Harper’s yoga ab workout and a few push-ups before prepping dinner. Grillin’ tonight!