So, admittedly, I’ve been feeling unmotivated about foodening posts. I’m not exactly sure why… Maybe I’m just sick of all the artsy photos of food I feel like I see everywhere. My resistance to hipsterdom feels like a constant daily struggle. Maybe one of these days I’ll embrace it…
Anyways, I’ve recently found this frickin’ amazing bread recipe and I’ve already made it 4 or 5 times. It’s amazingly easy, real simple ingredients, and it looks and tastes just like fancy artisan breads. I’ve only tried making it plain (false, I once rolled cheese and peppers into two loaves, but this dog my brother was taking care of devoured both of them) but I’m sure you could probably add stuff to it.
Just keep in mind, although it’s ridiculously easy, it does take time, so give yourself at least half a day before you need fresh bread. On the other hand, you can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge (actually, if you do that it makes it easier to handle, so some might even recommend doing that), and if you make the finished bread a day or two ahead of time it actually improves the flavor, though we typically end up eating most of the bread when it’s hot and fresh.
On to the recipe!
– 3 cups hot tap water
– 1-1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (2 packets)
– 1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
– 6-1/2 cups flour
In a very large bowl, add the yeast and salt to your hot water and stir it slowly to dissolve everything.
Mix in all the flour at once, and try to just stir it until the flour is completely wet, don’t over-stir it at all. This should only take a few short minutes, and your dough should be wet and loose.
Now loosely cover your bowl (I place a plate over-top) and let it sit undisturbed at room temperature for at least two hours.
From this point on you can either use your dough immediately, or you can keep it in the fridge and use it later. The dough should stay good in the fridge for up to two weeks.
When you’re ready to shape your dough place a piece of parchment baking paper or tin foil onto an upside-down cookie sheet (so you can easily slide it off) and sprinkle the area with flour.
Get your hands really floury and tear off a piece of your dough. Don’t knead it, but instead pull the down around and under itself to form a smooth and elastic top, and place it onto your prepared surface.
Allow your shaped loaf to rest again for 30 – 40 minutes.
While it’s resting preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone or pizza stone, allow that to sit in the oven and warm for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a stone, you can use a cookie sheet. Also, place a shallow baking pan (like a brownie pan) on the rack below your baking stone and let that heat up as well.
When you’re ready to bake your bread, dust the top of the loaf with flour and, using a very sharp knife, slash into the top. This can be a couple of parallel slashes, a cross slash, or a tic-tac-toe pattern. Slashing into the bread like this helps to release gases trapped within the dough and will help your bread expand much more in the oven.
Finally, you can slide the shaped loaf, parchment paper and all, onto your baking stone. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. I usually gently turned my loaf mid-bake so that the crust is nice and even. Take your bread out when the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
And bada boom bada bing Bon Jovi, delicious amazing fresh bread!