Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crusty bread - four ingredients and no kneading

As you all know I'm crazy about bread. And not any kind of bread. I love bread right out of the oven when the crust is still crunchy. You spread a little (or a lot) of butter on it and oh my goodness....This recipe is by far the easiest bread recipes I've ever come across. You don't have to knead the dough. You don't have to get your hands dirty. You do have to,however, let it rise anywhere from 10 to 18 hours. So you can make it Thursday night, for Friday's dinner. Yes, of course that you can pick up an already made dough from the store but I can you do that for under a dollar? This bread is baked in a cast iron dutch oven but I would think that you could use any oven proof pan for it. I have to tell you that I was a little bit hesitant putting dough right into the pan, putting the lid on and then shoving  it into the hot oven. I was afraid that it was going to stick and burn to the pan but... I had to trust the recipe and that I did indeed. The crust on this bread is amazing but you need to let it cool a little as the crust is very hard when you take it out of the oven. It becomes softer as it cools but it keeps its amazing crisp. Of course, don't expect to left overs to taste the same the following day. After all you are dealing with homemade, no preservative added food. I sliced the left overs, put some garlic butter on it and off to the oven it went for supper the following day. The product - finger-licking goodness, I tell you!


3 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups of water (the dough is supposed to be shaggy so add more water if it's too dry)

In a bowl, mix together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms (see you don't even need to get your hands dirty). 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 large cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. It will be extremely sticky and soft. Use flour on your hands to manage and shape dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and let sit while the pot is heating. Remove pot from the oven (auch, it's hot, don't forget!) and drop the dough in.

Put the lid on and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake additional 15 minutes. If the bread is getting too dark, take it out sooner. Remove bread from oven and place on cooling rack.

Enjoy this finger-licking goodness!!

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