November 21, 2012
I have never been one to let the thought of baking my own bread scare me. After years of doing it, I have grown to love it and in most cases, prefer it to store bought. The best piece of advice I could give to someone who is new to cooking and/or baking is "Don't let the kitchen scare you!" Get in there, get your hands dirty, and learn from your mistakes. I always mark my recipes with notes on what I changed, how it came out, or what to do different next time. This is how you learn, and this is how you perfect a recipe.
If ever there was a bread recipe to start with, this would be the one. This is sooooo easy, it takes almost no time to put together (seriously, it takes maybe 5 minutes if you include the time it takes to gather your ingredients) and it comes out like a professional artisan bread! Trust me. I promise. You will love this bread. Everyone will be amazed you made it. My husband couldn't believe how good it was....he must have told me a hundred times! It has an amazing crunchy crust (which comes from cooking it in the pot with the lid) and a perfectly soft and chewy middle. The hardest part is letting the dough set for 14-18 hours, so just plan ahead. I like to let it set out overnight and bake it in the morning - this works out perfect for me. What's the worst that could happen? If it doesn't come out the way you want, or if you have a bread baking disaster, just make croutons with it (click here for crouton recipe) - it's a win win situation! So don't let bread baking scare you - get in the kitchen and try this recipe!
1 cup bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1, 1/4oz packet of instant yeast (Rapid Rise)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Add both flours, salt and yeast to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the water and mix until it comes together to form a soft dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 14-18 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 and once it has come to temp, place a large cast iron pot (or enameled cast iron pot) with lid into the oven and let it set in there for 30 minutes. While the pot is heating, pour the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it to remove bubbles (about 10-15 times), then shape dough into a ball. Cover the dough and let it sit while the your pot is heating up.
After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven and place your dough ball into the center of the pot. With a sharp knife, cut a few slits on the tip, then put the cover on the pot and place into the oven. Let it cook covered for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.