Despite the fact that my husband and I have drastically cut back on our intake of processed carbohydrates over the last few months, we both agreed recently that we were really missing bread. We decided that it was time to treat ourselves, and Ezekial bread just wasn’t going to do the trick. I had been wanting to try my hand at baking a loaf of rustic-style bread at home for quite some time, and was feeling pretty discouraged by all of the ingredients listed on the packaged breads sold in stores, so naturally, I did what I always do when I’m in need of some inspiration… I hopped on Pinterest. Per usual, I found about a billion recipe/method variations, so I made some notes and decided to take a gamble and combine bits and pieces from a few of them that sounded the best to me. The resulting product was an incredibly delicious, better-than-store-bought, loaf of fresh bread, that was crusty on the outside, and perfectly chewy, yet fluffy on the inside.
What I love the most about this recipe is that it really only requires a few ingredients, all of which are pantry staples in our house. Above and beyond that, it doesn’t require any super fancy equipment, if you own a large bowl and wooden spoon, you’re essentially set to go (bonus points if you own a pizza peel and stone)! Plus, it creates such a large batch of dough, that you can store it in the refrigerator, and bake a fresh loaf a few times a week if you want (I have not yet tried freezing it, but will edit this post when I do). This bread is great for sandwiches and toast, and it’s amazing straight out of the oven, slathered in butter. Once you make your first loaf, you will totally be hooked.
- 3.5 cups of luke warm water
- 1.5 Tbs active dry yeast
- 1.5 Tbs salt (I use sea salt)
- 6.5 cups of all-purpose flour (plus additional for working the dough)
- cornmeal (for dusting the peel surface)
- 1. In a large bowl combine water and yeast, and allow the yeast to bloom.
- 2. Once yeast/water mix is ready, add flour and salt and combine with a wooden spoon. This bread does not need to be kneaded, just make sure that the flour is well mixed in.
- 3. Cover bowl with a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, but do not seal tightly.
- 4. Allow the dough to rise until it is over the top of the bowl.
- 5. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and if you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to get it nice and hot. If you don't have a stone, a large cast iron pan or baking sheet would also work.
- 6. Place a metal broiler pan under the pizza stone.
- 7. Dust a pizza peel with corn meal.
- 8. Take a softball size piece of dough, dust it with some flour, and work it into a loaf shape. Place it on your pizza peel to rise, and using a knife make some slits across the top of it. (if you do not own a pizza peel, you could also use a wooden cutting board.)
- 9. After oven and stone have been heating for about 20 min, and loaf has risen, you want to quickly slide the loaf onto the pizza stone, and then add 1.5 cups of warm water to the broiler pan underneath the stone. Close the oven immediately to create steam, and don't open it until towards the end of cooking time.
- 10. Cook bread for 30-40 minutes, until it is golden and crusty.
- 11. Bread may be stored in a ziplock bag for a couple of days, and the dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are taking your dough straight from the refrigerator, you may want to allow it to rise for longer.
If you have any questions at all about this recipe or the process, please feel free to ask. I think that a lot of people are intimidated by making bread at home, but once you try this recipe, you’ll realize just how easy it is!