The Fresh Loaf

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ALMOST TOO EASY CRUSTY BREAD

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suehedtke's picture
suehedtke

ALMOST TOO EASY CRUSTY BREAD


I love the texture of sourdough bread....always have.  However, I really do not like the sour taste of sourdough bread.  What I like is the chewy texture and how it is awesome with a touch of butter or toasted.  I do not claim to be anywhere near the quality of baker that most of the people on the forum are.  I love to cook, but don't have time to spend making the wonderfully complicated breads on The Fresh Loaf.  I came across this recipe and it is awesome.  I have made it a dozen times already and everyone that tastes it is totally smitten.  The ingredients are so simple, there are no complicated directions.  You make it in the evening and then cook it the next day and it is wonderful.  How easy is that?  The one requirement for this bread that is a bit unusual is a cast iron dutch oven or pot with a lid.  I have one that is enameled which is even better.  It acts as an oven in an oven to give you the great chewy/crusty bread.


ALMOST TOO EASY CRUSTY BREAD

 

3 cups (13.15 oz) unbleached all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 cups water

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  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.   Because I do not like the hard crispy crust, I wrap the hot bread in a cloth napkin and slide it in a plastic bag to cool.  The bread comes out with the wonderful chewy texture that I crave. 

This bread is wonderful plain, but adding stuff to it gives you unlimited options.  My favorite so far has been parmesan cheese, chopped almonds and caraway seeds.  Wonderful!  Othere additions to try:

Pepper jack cheese, Jalapeno cheddar, Raisin walnut cinnamon, Pumpkin sunflower poppy seed, Sharp cheddar, Rosemary lemon Gruyere, Lemon thyme Asiago, Asiago, Mixed herb with rosemary, chives and thyme and plain. 

Cranberry, orange and almond. .  Add about 3/4 cup cranberries, orange zest from one orange and about 1/2 cups sliced almonds

Yuki-Johan's picture
Yuki-Johan

for baking the bread :) my aunt loves chewy crust and i like it crispy we both always cool our breads in different ways. aunt=in a bag, mine=on a rack. i may give the recipe you posted a try when my aunt comes over.

suehedtke's picture
suehedtke

I really don't think you will be disappointed.  Cut in half and cool half on rack and half in a bag.  Lol...then everyone will be happy.

rolls's picture
rolls

Is that Jim laheys bread? I love it too. Tastes like crumpets wen u toast it wiv butter yum. And thanx u jus reminded me bout my poor starter which I refreshes the other day and left on top of the fridge. Uh oh lol

suehedtke's picture
suehedtke

Really don't know Jim Lahey....I am new to this site and really a very novice and simple bread maker.  And yes....the forgotten sourdough starter....the ultimate bread baking sin.  Lol!

 

suehedtke's picture
suehedtke

Okay, googled Jim Lahey and yes, it is the same process...I had gotten it from a friend who got it from a friend....etc. and had no idea where it came from.  Now I can at least give credit where credit is due.  Have to give it to Mr. Lahey...great idea and one that I would have never had the inclination to try...always have had to be so specific with bread..raise until just right, knead until just right, raise again until just right.  This is a "kinda sorta" bread...and it comes out perfect.

fancy4baking's picture
fancy4baking

Yes, that's Jim Lahey's technique in no-knead bread. It's nice and yields crispy crust (for those who like it...i do) and a nice open & chewy crumb. I eve tried it with Whole Wheat and it worked just fine...well not as fine as bread flour, but it was OK.

As for the yeast i substituted the Instant Yeast with ten times the weight this recipe call for, changed some of the ingredients to balance the change and it was very nice.

Izzat

 

suehedtke's picture
suehedtke

It makes a very pretty loaf also....that is if you can keep it close to round when you drop in the super hot pot.  Makes a great gift for sick friend or neighbor with some soup....lots of compliments and almost shamefully easy.