Homemade Crusty Bread

Don’t you just want to lick the screen right now? This simple bread recipe will show you how to make amazing bread that will impress anyone with it’s look and taste – no bread machine needed!

I got this recipe from my fiancé’s supervisor and it was amazing. I felt invincible in the kitchen after I made it…until a couple of days later I when tried a new curry recipe from a cookbook I just got…[we ended up ordering pizza].

The first time I made the bread, I made it with all-purpose [AP] whole wheat flour, since then I’ve also used both unbleached and bleached AP (white) flour. Every single time it has been fantastic!

One thing you do need is a dutch oven or a crock pot, or some heavy-duty pot that you can stick in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. My crock pot didn’t have a lid that was oven safe, so I use three sheets of tin foil and it works really well!

Ingredients include: 1¾ cup cold water, 1½ tsp salt, 3½ cup flour and ½ tsp of instant yeast. You will also want some sort of non-stick spray and a bit of extra flour to avoid sticking to the pot or dutch oven after it’s been cooked.

Side Note: One of the best kitchen utensils I ever decided to buy was an oil spray bottle. Now I don’t have to use non-stick spray anymore [I think it smells really gross] and I use the spray bottle for everything including dressing on my salads; it’s just so much easier! I highly recommend. I’ve also seen oil olive sold in pressurized spray bottles at the grocery store. I like my re-usable one; you just have to pump-it to pressurize it for a continuous spray.

I use Quick-Rise Instant Yeast for this recipe, make sure you don’t get the active dry or pizza crust variety. I use the instant yeast for almost all my bread-making adventures.

Baking with yeast is not scary I promise, they are harmless and help you make delicious things and are the reason we have beer! Once upon a time I used to genetically modify my yeast in the lab, now I just bake with them. I’ve also had a soft spot for my Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or more affectionately named by myself, my little yeasties. I promise you’ll love them as much as I someday! Well maybe not that much, but I hope you get out of that comfort zone and make some delicious bread products with them!

Now I have a big container of yeast because I LOVE making crusty bread, naan, pretzels, pizza dough etc. and it’s just so much easier to have a nice stock on hand. But if you just want to try this out the once and don’t want to commit to a big jar, they come in little packets as well.

First, in a smaller bowl, I mix the water, salt and yeast together until dissolved and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes – it will start to get frothy! Next take a big bowl and pour in your 3½ cups of flour, followed by your smaller bowl of frothy liquid yeast and stir with a spoon until all combined. You don’t want to over-mix the dough, so I find using a wooden spoon prevents over-mixing. Cover bowl and leave it at room temperature for 12-16 hours [or just overnight].

THE NEXT DAY  

MMMM, that dough rise.

The next day, or 12-16 hours later it will look something like this. Now you’ll want to fold the dough on itself towards the inside and remove it from the bowl – the dough will be sticky! Here you can either wash the same bowl, or get a new clean one.

Spray the bowl with nonstick/olive oil spray. Dump the dough back in the bowl and sprinkle with some extra flour and nonstick/olive oil spray.

Now you will want to preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit WITH the crock pot INSIDE the oven. Make sure it is FULLY preheated before you add in the dough – very important.

Once preheated, remove the crock pot carefully with gloves, sprinkle in some more extra flour [extra flour FOR EVERYONE] and dump in the dough. Cover with three sheets of tinfoil or a well-fitted lid.

After 40 minutes, remove the lid or tinfoil and cook for another 10-15 minutes to get that crusty finish.

Enjoy!


RECIPE

Homemade Bread

Prep Time: 12-16 hours
Cook Time: 50-55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3½ cup Unbleached AP flour (have also used bleached AP flour and whole wheat AP flour, both work)
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant (rapid) yeast
  • 1¾ cup cold water
  • non-stick spray – or more preferrable, an olive oil spray
  • extra flour for “dusting”

Directions

  1. Mix salt, water, and yeast first in a little bowl to dissolve, after a few minutes pour into a larger bowl that has the flour. Mix everything together in a bowl well but do not over mix the dough. **trick – only mix with a wooden spoon, that way you can’t over mix it.
  2. Cover your bowl and let stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours or overnight

Next Day/ 12-16 Hours Later

  1. Fold the dough on itself towards the inside and remove it from the bowl, it’ll be sticky!
  2. In another bowl (or same bowl; I just wash it out while the dough on the counter), spray the bowl with nonstick/olive oil spray, put in the dough, sprinkle with flour and non-stick/oil spray.
  3. Set oven at 450 and put your empty Dutch oven and lid in the oven too. (I don’t have a Dutch oven and lid, I used my cast iron pot and later cover it with three sheets of tin foil)
  4. When the oven is ready, take your Dutch oven out, sprinkle some flour in the bottom and coat with nonstick/olive oil spray, dump the dough in and sprinkle some flour over it.
  5. Cover and put in oven for 40 minutes. (I cover with three sheets of tin foil)
  6. Uncover and cook another 10-15 minutes.
  7. Take it out the oven and it should easily slide out the pot, let cool a little bit on a wire rack and enjoy!

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