Easy Bread!

I had to share this recipe.  It’s the first ‘easy’ bread I’ve ever made and a big plus is that Marguerite like’s it!

I’ve always had issues getting a proper ‘rise’ in my bread.  I’ve also been frustrated trying to ‘knead’ the bread into proper consistency.  This recipe has solved both issues!

The single unique feature is that the bread to baked in a dutch oven in the oven.  Past experiments has shown the potential from high temperatures, approx. 500 degrees, but these temperatures are hard on the oven when trying to maintain humidity by adding steam.

Using the dutch oven gives a similar result at a temperature of 450 degrees.  The loaf is moist and by using the lid on the dutch oven the humidity created from the loaf itself is adequate.

dutch-oven breadThe recipe is super simple:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and blend thoroughly.  Add water and blend again to get all dry ingredients blended into the batter.  (I tried using a mixer but a significant amount of flour was not worked into the batter.)

Cover with saran wrap and leave sit 12 to 18 hours.  (I simply leave overnight and without refrigeration)

The dough will double (more or less) and be a sticky mess!  Dump this onto a heavily floured surface, sprinkle flour over the surface and keep your hands well floured and shape into a ball (if you don’t flour well the dough will stick to your hands rather than forming into a ball).  Cover with the saran (just laid over ball to protect from foreign objects) and pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  (This procedure allows about 45 minutes for a second rise.  The rise is almost imperceptible but is adequate.)

Put the dutch oven in the oven to heat for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes carefully remove the dutch oven lid and drop the ball of dough in.  Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Then remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  (Don’t worry about the ball flattening out when dropped, it will puff back up while baking.  The relatively high temp gives this ‘pop’ as the yeast is shocked.)

Dump the loaf onto a cooling rack and wait impatiently for an excellent slice of fresh bread!

Note:  There is NO KNEADING!

It’s a long process but the overnight is the key to uniform yeast activity.

slicedNotice the ‘air’ in the slices.  This makes an excellent repository for butter (something I really crave).  The high temp treatment makes for a ‘tough’ crust.  It’s not hard like you might think, but it is pleasantly chewy, another feature that I enjoy.

And probably the biggest selling point, at least to me, is that Marguerite obviously enjoys it.  She seldom eats bread outside of a sandwich, so this is significant.

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