This bread experiment was everything I had hoped it would be and more! I wanted to share my test run with you so you can give it a try if you like. I found the recipe on Pinterest. The pin originated from a great blog that you should take a peek at...Simply So Good. The original post for her Crusty Bread can be found here. I tell you this not only to give her credit, but so you can go to the post and read all of the comments which are chock full of tips and hints as well as variations of this bread which seem to be never-ending! My little post is just the beginning ~ hers gives you so much more information and ideas!
You will need a cast iron dutch oven or lidded pot. Enameled cast iron will also work, as will any oven ready pan with a tight lid. I used a black cast iron dutch oven that I found at our local Fry's grocery store for $39.99. There are others that cost much more if you want to give them a try. I do recommend reading reviews of each brand, as some of the enameled ones have had problems with cracking and peeling...not all, but some.
Then get ready for the easy peasy instructions...here we go!
- 3 cups white unbleached flour (you can experiment with other flours)
- 1 3/4 t salt (kosher is suggested, but I used sea salt and it tasted great)
- 1/2 t yeast (I used dry active)
- 1 1/2 cups water
In large bowl, add your flour and salt. Add yeast if you are using instant, otherwise add it with the water.
Whisk the dry ingredients to mix.
Next, add water (and yeast with water) and mix.
The dough will be sticky and look funky, but that's what it is supposed to do.
Cover the dough with saran wrap or press n seal and let sit on the kitchen counter for 12 - 18 hours. DON'T PUT IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR! It needs to proof for all those hours. It will rise, so be sure your bowl is large enough.
After it rises (mine didn't double in size, but did come up some), it will look sticky but that's normal.
Place your empty pan or dutch oven in a preheated oven at 450 degrees and let it heat up for 30 minutes. While it is heating, move the dough to a well-floured board or mat and shape it into a round mound. Mine was too moist and didn't shape well, but have faith...it will still turn out okay!
After 30 minutes, take your pan out of the oven and carefully place the dough in the very hot pan...watch your hands! Flouring your hands before you do this will help since it is so sticky. Mine was actually like the blob, and kept sliding off my hands, but I a managed to sneak it into the pot anyway!
Place pan back in oven with lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Take lid off and bake for another 15 minutes. Even with my flat dough and wrestling to get the blob into the pan, this is what I ended up with...
Remove from pan - it doesn't stick, just comes out clean - and cool on a rack. Mine tasted yummy, tho' it was a bit course looking. I may need to add a bit more flour and stir and handle less to get a finer look. But, as Janet says, this is a very forgiving bread! My Hubby loved it, too! I took some to my neighbor and she also loved it!
Success! Now to experiment with some of the variations mentioned on Janet's post! I can't wait to bake it again!
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Huge Green Hugs,Pat