Monday, March 4, 2013

Easy Homemade Bread

With a little help from a Le Creuset pot (with a lid) you can made wonderful homemade bread.  I don't really make a lot of bread.  I took a class at George Brown College here in Toronto that gave me some of the basics of how to make bread ... this recipe uses NONE of those basics.  Naturally I was skeptical about the whole thing but now, I'm a believer.

This recipe is splattered all over the internet, so much so that I don't know where it actually originated.  I found it on Simply So Good but after reading I also found it on Michael Rhulman's page too although his technique is more like what I'm used to.   The big difference between the two is the technique ... SSG pretty much throws everything into a bowl, stirs it around, lets it rise, and then bakes while Rhulman's technique is more time consuming ... stir ingredients, kneed for awhile, let rise, beat down, let rise again, bake.  Rhulman's technique is much more of what I'm used to but just for kicks I figured I'd make both and see which one I liked better. While I did prefer Rhulman's baking method, it was the rustic texture of SSG's bread that won me over ... no one was more surprised than me!  And it's so freakin' easy!  I made a couple of small adjustments and used a couple of Rhulman's tips.


3 cups flour (I used bread flour but the original recipe calls for all-purpose ... use what you have)

1 1/2 tsp. salt ( I like kosher salt)

1/2 tsp dry active yeast

1 3/4 cups warm water

Step 1:
In a small bowl add your warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit while you get the rest of your ingredients

Step 2:
In a large mixing bowl, add your flour and salt.  If you want to make some kind of flavoured bread, add in your additions now.  I used fresh rosemary and pickled garlic in mine.  You can use whatever you like ... or nothing at all.

Step 3:
Add your warm water with yeast mixture to the flour and stir.  That's it.  It will be pretty messy looking and definitely sticky. Cover your dough with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.

Step 4: (once you're ready to bake the bread)
Set your oven to 450 degrees F.

Once the dough has risen dump it out on a floured surface.  Keep flour handy because this dough is very sticky.  Form the dough into a bit of a ball.  It won't be a perfect ball by any means, mine was quite flat, but it works.

Step 5:
Pour a little oil on a paper towel and use that to oil the inside of your enameled cast iron pot.  It doesn't have to be Le Creuset, but make sure that whatever you use can be in the oven at temperatures over 400 degrees.  Some pots have handles that won't take this temperature.  I used my Le Creuset French Oven.

Step 6:  
Place your dough in the oiled pot.  Rub a little oil on the top and use a sharp knife to score the bread (make cuts across the top to allow the bread to expand, you can see my picture below).  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt if you'd like and then put it in the oven with the lid on.  Bake for 30 minutes then remove the lid and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue baking for another 30 minutes.

Step 7:
Take it out of the oven and let it sit for another 20 minutes before eating

That's it!  Super easy and tastes amazing!

Now start experimenting with flavours! Rosemary, cheese, cinnamon raisin, cranberry walnut, orange almond, basil and oregano .... have at it!  :-D

The dough after it has been out overnight ... a sticky mess
Turned out onto a floured surface
Floured and ready to be put into the cast iron pot
Dough has been oiled, scored, and salted

Right out of the oven .... you can almost smell it!

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