Easy Crusty Bread

This is the easiest recipe for simple crusty bread and uses regular flour. The bread tastes delicious. Perfect for a novice bread maker. I’ve baked for years, and I love the convenience of this no-fuss recipe. You make the recipe and store the dough in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can make a loaf at a time or combine up to three loaves.

Making bread or anything with yeast reminds me of my mother and grandmother, both were exceptional cooks and bakers. My memories flow freely when I smell bread baking in my kitchen; I am transported to my childhood, watching my mother kneed bread, patiently waiting to taste her fresh-baked bread. This recipe is kneed-free.

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Life is simple again when you bake bread!

1 ½ tablespoons yeast*

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

3 cups water, lukewarm

6 ½ cups King Arthur’s unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

 Cornmeal

Mix yeast and salt into 3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. The dough will be pretty loose. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

You can make the bread now or cover and refrigerate the dough for up two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with a serrated knife. Turn dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on a parchment-covered baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate for future use.

Place the broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. Turn over to 450 degrees and heat for 10 minutes.

Dust dough with flour, and slash the top with a serrated or sharp knife three times. Place the baking sheet on the center rack. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Makes three round loaves.

* I used SAF Instant Red Label Yeast by Lesaffre Yeast Corporation

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