Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crusty Bread

(Photo stolen from my friend's blog, who I got the recipe from.  Mine looked just like it though but I wasn't wearing such a cute shirt when I was pulling it out of the oven.) 

I have had two different friends make this recipe and both times, I couldn't believe how good it was.  They both swore it was super easy to make.  I did have to purchase a special pan to cook it in.  I got this one because it was a good price and the reviews were good.  I made this for my family last night and my husband, who in his words is a "bread snob" said it is the best bread he has ever eaten.

One warning:  You need about 20 hours of bread rising time, so make the dough the night before you serve it.  (I made it at 9:00 pm to have it ready to eat at 6:00 pm the next night.)  Really, that is the hardest part, the rest is easy.  I kept on rereading the recipe to make sure I did it right because it was that easy.

Crusty Bread

3 c all purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until well blended; dough will be sticky and shaggy. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature.
2. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, gently shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Place dough on flour dusted towel, and cover with another floured towel. Let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from the oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over in pot, seam side up (it may look like a mess, but it's okay). Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


Queen Elizabeth said...

Sounds good -- can you include a photo sometime?

Melinda said...

Oh, you'll love your enamel and cast iron pot. I use my two Le Creuset dutch ovens almost every day. And, I've seen that bread recipe kicking around the web, and never tried it. I'll have to give it a whirl.

michelle said...

One of my very favorite bread recipes! Ihaven't made it in awhile. Now I have got to!

Alissa said...

So glad it turned out. I have the Martha Stewart cast iron pot, and have really enjoyed it. They go on sale at Macy's frequently.

love.boxes said...

Michelle made this for lunch at her place once. It was the best bread I ever tasted.