After many requests from my housemates, I am going to make dutch oven baked bread. Once I learned about using a dutch oven to make artisan style bread in any crappy home oven, I was hooked. There are various other tricks to making super bread at home such as putting water in a pan at the bottom of the oven, baking the bread initially at a very high temp, etc, but the dutch oven is the most life changing.
It all started with the infamous no-knead bread article by Mark Bittman written in the New York Times years ago by Jim Lahey. This recipe is the one I turn people if they are intimidated/have had scarring bread baking experiences in their past. It's infallible, impressive, and delicious.
If you want to buy me a gift anytime soon, I'd probably ask for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Check out their website for great recipes and bread baking advice. I am especially excited about their book because they have developed gluten-free bread using their moist, no-knead, dutch oven baked technique. The other great part is that it takes no time at all because you whip up a batch of dough, store it in the fridge and tear off portions when ever you feel the desire for fresh baked bread come on. I recently found out I have a gluten allergy this past month after getting a horrible, itchy rash. This was pretty devestating at first, being a baker and all, but I accepted this new dietary restriction and have become excited about exploring the realm of gluten-free baking.
However, today I will be baking Jeff and Zoe's basic gluten-filled bread recipe because I still need to buy some xanthan gum and tapioca flour before I dive into the world of gluten-free artisan bread and my housemates aren't the patient types.
Super Easy Artisan Bread
Adapted from Jeff and Zoe
(I'm only making half the recipe because we are running out of flour, but this is the full recipe)
In a large bowl or container with a lid mix together:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbs course salt
Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then dump in:
6 1/2 cups flour
Mix well with a spoon and let sit for a few hours covered until it has risen and then deflated a bit. Store in the fridge until you are ready to bake. The flavor develops as the dough sits, so there's no need to use the dough in a hurry; it's good for a week or so.
I'll go through the baking process with ya'll later this evening. Have a lovely day!