Wednesday, June 26

Rustic Bread

No need for a bread pan with this one. It just comes out in a perfectly rustic round loaf (actually it makes 2-4 loaves*), and is surprisingly soft despite it’s hearty appearance. Perfect for french toast, a panini, or just bread and butter. Added bonus: no kneading!

This is actually a really do-able recipe, and the easiest bread I've found to make. Even Paige made a loaf by herself and it turned out exactly like that beautiful picture up there (except her slits on the top were much better).

1 1/2 tbs. yeast
1 tbs. salt
3 c warm water
6 1/2 c flour

Combine all your ingredients in a large bowl and stir together until there are no dry patches (the dough will not form a ball, but will look choppy and be stretchable but messy to the touch). Cover lightly with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

Once it has risen, tear the dough in half*. Taking each section, gently stretch the top and turn it under to create a smooth, round surface on one side. Then, place each round loaf on a baking stone (or baking sheet), and allow them to rest for 40 more minutes. Note: You can bake both loaves together or separately. If you are baking separately, leave half the dough to continue resting in its bowl for up to 3 more hours, or cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to bake your second loaf, take out the second section of dough and complete this second step prior to baking (allow it to rise for an extra 30 minutes if cold).

Preheat oven to 450°F with a broiler pan or baking dish on the bottom shelf. When the dough is ready to bake, dust the top with flour and cut 3 slits in the top with a sharp knife.

Then, place the bread in the oven and pour 1 c water into the broiler pan inside the oven, closing the door quickly to trap in the steam. Bake your bread for 24-28 minutes, and then allow it to cool completely before slicing.

*If you want to make 3 or 4 loaves from this dough, just tear off a grapefruit sized chunk, and allow the rest of the dough to rise further. You can do this up to 4 times.

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