Saturday, January 2, 2016

Crusty bread

Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix with a spoon or spatula until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot* with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.**  Cover and return to oven for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

*I use a small enamel-coated dutch oven. I have used a regular dutch oven before and sprayed it with oil before baking, and it turned out great (I also doubled the recipe as the pan was far larger than mine normal pot).  I've heard you can use pretty much any oven-safe thing with a lid, but can't speak from experience. Just remember that the dough will take roughly the shape of whatever pot you use.
**This is a good place to add cheeses, fresh herbs, etc. Let your imagination soar. (My favorite is fresh rosemary and shredded parmesan cheese.)