Okay, I can't believe I'm posting something like this because I'm still in shock of how easy it is, how little work it takes, and how delicious it turns out! Lee received this recipe from a friend, so I am in no way taking credit for it, in fact, I have no idea where it came from so I can't credit anyone! It's just soooo good, I have to share it. And you have to try it.
You can make it on weeknights it's so easy! It takes very little of your time and with a few simple steps, you can have your house smelling of home-cooked bread and impress your family with your awesome baking skills. :) As quoted by Lee's friend, "It will change your life". And that's no lie - it really does! It's so easy to whip up on a random Tuesday evening. You could make one every night of the weekend and still be able to do all that needs to be done. No lie.
It's super easy and tastes like bakery-style bread. Seriously, I'm not lying. I can't stress enough how easy it is! If I haven't said it enough, here I go one more time - it's easy!
Don't be scared by the 'bread' recipe. There is no kneading, no special skills needed at all! Anyone can make this. You just need the ingredients, an oven, and a ceramic deep covered dish, like a dutch oven. Get them and get started!
Here is the recipe!
*I'm not sure if it would turn out well with gluten-free flour... someone give it a try though and let me know!
*This recipe makes 1, medium-sized loaf. You can multiply the ingredients by 1.5 to get a bigger loaf.
3 cups flour (a minimum of 2 cups white unbleached flour for best results. The third can be spelt, whole wheat, rye, whatever you fancy, or just all white)
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
What to do:
1) Roughly mix all ingredients together. The dough will be slightly more wet and sticky than regular bread dough.
2) Place the dough in an olive oiled bowl. Cover so it is air-tight and let sit between 12-24 hours. (The longer time yields a more flavourful and bubbly soft bread)
3) Slide the dough, using a flour-coated spatula (the dough will stick to everything at this point - best to coat things in flour!) onto a floured surface. (We use a non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper) Flatten it out with your fingers and then fold it over onto itself a few times so that a seam will show on top. Flip the whole thing upside down so the seam side is down, round the shape somewhat, sprinkle with some flour, and let it rest for 2 hours, covered with a cloth.
4) About 1/2 an hour before the rest period is over, place a lidded dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 475-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
5) By the time the rest period is over the oven will have reached its temperature. As quickly as you can, take the dutch oven out of the oven, dump your mound of dough into it (it'll be seam side down)) put the lid back on and put it back in the oven.
6) Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lids and bake for another 10 minutes or so until it is nicely golden brown (time varies depending on oven)
****As tempting as it may be to slice into your loaf right away, be sure to wait an hour before taking the first slice otherwise the bread will be gummy. Also, water amounts are a variable thing in bread and the exact amount depends on may thing including the type of flour you're using, humid levels, etc. It's a matter of personal taste. Feel free to add flavour: herbs, chopped kalamata olives, roasted garlic, etc.!