This is the easiest way (that I know of) to make delicious bread!
- Cast iron dutch oven
- glass mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- 3 cups flour, all purpose
- 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Stir together dry ingredients. Add water all at once. Stir until all flour has been incorporated. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 12-18 hours. Try not to leave it in a drafty or particularly cold area. If your house is really chilly, let it rest inside your oven--NO HEAT.
- After 12-18 hours, fold the dough a few times putting the seams on the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. (if pressed for time, you can actually skip this step without affecting your final product too much).
- Sprinkle your work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it. Quickly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle with more flour or some cornmeal. Cover with a cotton (not terry cloth) towel and let rest for 2 hours. TIP: If you place your dough on some parchment paper at this stage, it is easier to pop it in the pan and remove it from the pan.
- Preheat your oven to 500F with your cast iron Dutch oven inside. After the 2-hour resting period and a preheated oven is ready, carefully flip your dough ball inside the hot pot. Lower the oven temp to 450F then cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to bake for another 15-30 minutes or until sufficiently browned. Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Try to resist cutting it until it's cooled as it's still cooking inside the crust.
This recipe is very easy to tweak by adding herbs or cheese or whatever. Add-ins can be stirred into the dough at the very beginning. Crust toppings can be added either before the 2 hour rise or just before baking. If adding spices to the crust, a light spraying of water will help the spices stick during baking.