Friday, September 12, 2014

Crusty Bread

A few years back I tried my hand at making Challah Bread for Easter. By the third try I was still unsuccessful so I baked this messy loaf, if you could even call it that, just to see how it tastes and bakes. It was a hot mess ya'll. From that point on I have been scared of making bread because yeast is one of the trickiest things to get right. Your bread will literally rise and fall based upon the yeast.

I recently reconnected with a long time friend who is into baking and we had been discussing the wonders of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer and using it to make bread. I found myself inspired this weekend to try, try again. So I bring you, the easiest bread recipe, for those of you like me, that are intimidated by bread making.
If you are looking for a way to warm up your house and make it smell AMAZING, look no further. This bread will literally have you standing over the oven watching and waiting for it to one out. I love this recipe because it makes the process super simple and approachable. I also love having another purpose for my Le Creuset Dutch Ovens. This made clean up incredibly easy as the bread did not stick to the pot. Just remember that after heating your dutch oven, the handle on the lid will be extremely hot so do not use your bare hands!
The other great thing about this recipe is that you can make all kinds of additions. I made a Cinnamon Raisin loaf adding 1/2 cup of Raisins and 1 Tbsp. of Cinnamon. Next on my list is to make a Rosemary Olive Oil loaf and a Cheddar Cheese loaf. It is a very forgiving recipe. The second time I made it, I thought that maybe it was too dry so I added some extra water which ended up making it too watery. I through some flour into the bowl to absorb that extra water and baked as directed and it still came out perfect.


Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups room temperature water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water gradually and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit overnight in a warm dark place. The dough should double in size.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes*. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

*The one thing I learned in making this recipe is that everyone's oven will bake differently. When baked at 450 degrees, the bottom for me turned out thick and hard. When I dropped the temperature down to 350 degrees, the bread came out a little softer and not such a thick bottom which I preferred.

Enjoy! Leave a comment and let me know what additions you would add to change up this recipe.

5 comments:

  1. The smell of bread baking is one of my favorites! It's been way too long since I made a loaf of bread from scratch. Thanks for inspiring me!

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  2. This looks amazing! It's on my bucket list to make homemade bread some day, yeast and all!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks girl! You can do it, just be patient and you will absolutely love the results.

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  3. Homemade bread is my favorite! This sounds so good!

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